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4 Israelis shot and killed in Palestinian ambush

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Associated Press WriterJERUSALEM (AP) -- Four Israelis were shot and killed and three others wounded, two critically, in a Palestinian attack in the West Bank on Tuesday, Israeli military sources said.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the shootings occurred near the Palestinian village of Ein Arik, west of Ramallah.

Israeli radio reported a group of Palestinian gunmen penetrated a building near an Israeli roadblock and opened fire on the occupants.

The army did not immediately comment.

The attack followed stepped up reprisals by Israel for Palestinian attacks that claimed nine Israeli lives -- including those of two teen-agers -- in six days.

Eight Palestinians, including a 14-year-old girl, were killed earlier Tuesday in Israeli airstrikes, shelling and a raid by undercover forces.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is under growing pressure from hard-liners in his coalition. Israel accuses Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat of professing commitment to peace talks while quietly encouraging militants to carry out attacks.

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