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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Disguised Palestinians Shoot 4

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Three Palestinians disguised as Israeli soldiers sneaked into an army post Sunday and killed four Israeli soldiers before being killed by troops -- the first major attack on Israelis since last week's Middle East summit.

The shooting could be a major setback to a U.S.-backed peace plan and came just hours after Palestinian militant groups affirmed they would not halt attacks on Israelis.

Three groups -- Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade -- claimed responsibility. A leaflet gave the names of the gunmen, all in their early 20s, one from each group.

"This joint operation was committed to confirm our people's united choice of holy war and resistance until the end of occupation over our land and holy places," the leaflet said.

The Al Aqsa militia is linked to the ruling Fatah movement, and its involvement in the shooting was a direct challenge to Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, a senior Fatah member who has been trying to persuade militants to halt attacks on Israelis.

The Israeli military said four soldiers were killed and four others injured in the shooting. Major General Doron Almog, head of the army's southern command, told Israel Radio that the attackers arrived by surprise at the northern edge of the post, killed three soldiers at close range and a fourth soldier inside.

Israel demanded Abbas begin arresting militants, dismantling their organizations and disarming Palestinians.

"If terrorism will continue, it will destroy the road map," Israeli government spokesman Avi Pazner said.

Abbas said he would resist pressure to crack down on the militants and would continue efforts to talk with them.

Israel had provoked the attacks by continuing restrictions on Palestinians and killing two Hamas militants Thursday night near the West Bank city of Tulkarem, Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath said.

The gunmen, who wore Israeli army uniforms, attacked the army post near the Erez crossing into Israel just after dawn.

The shooting underscored the determination of militants to derail the road map to peace, which envisions a Palestinian state by 2005.