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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Israeli Troops Kill 3 and Leave 200 People Homeless in Gaza

JERUSALEM -- Israeli soldiers on Monday killed three Palestinians, including two armed Hamas fighters, and troops also destroyed 16 shacks, leaving more than 200 people homeless in confrontations in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians said.

In Nablus, hundreds of Palestinian school students threw stones at Israeli soldiers enforcing a curfew in the West Bank city. Troops fired, wounding seven protesters, including a 15-year-old who was in serious condition, doctors said.

Also Monday, Israel announced it would ease travel restrictions and allow some bus travel between towns in the West Bank. During more than 26 months of fighting, Israel has largely confined Palestinians to their communities to prevent attacks on Israelis, paralyzing daily life and crushing the Palestinian economy.

In Monday's violence, Israeli soldiers shot dead the two Hamas fighters who were trying to sneak into Israel from northern Gaza, Israeli military officials and Palestinian witnesses said. Ali Ismail, a local farmer, said a gun battle raged for hours. Military officials said the two men carried grenades, ammunition and bombs. Hamas sources identified the two men as its fighters.

Near the Jewish settlement of Neve Dekalim in Gaza, a Palestinian was killed in a firefight overnight. His family said he was hit when he went out during the night to check the irrigation system on the family farm.

At the southern end of Gaza, in the town of Rafah, soldiers demolished 16 shacks, leaving more than 200 people homeless, said the mayor, Saed Zoarab.

The army said the buildings were abandoned structures used by Palestinian gunmen as cover when firing on Israeli soldiers and detonating explosives. Palestinians are not allowed to enter the area, which is very close to the Jewish settlement of Morag, the army added.