Four Palestinians killed in West Bank, Gaza violence

JERUSALEM -- Four Palestinians, including a teenager, died Monday in violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while a U.N. aid group charged that Israeli forces destroyed a warehouse of food for needy Palestinians in Gaza.

Separately, Israel's military chief denied reports that he said Israel eventually would dismantle most Jewish settlements.

Israeli forces were involved in three of Monday's fatalities. The teenager was shot dead when rock-throwing Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops.

The fourth Palestinian, a sanitation worker at the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel, was killed when a mortar fired by Palestinians at an Israeli position fell short of its target, Palestinian security officials said. Twelve Palestinians returning from jobs in Israel were wounded in the blast.

Palestinians fire mortars at Israeli army outposts and Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip almost every day, rarely causing damages or casualties.

In the West Bank town of Jenin, soldiers shot and killed a teenager during a clash. In a new tactic to protest Israeli forces occupying the town at the northern edge of the West Bank, Palestinian youths piled garbage and junk atop an Israeli armored personnel carrier.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Palestinians threw rocks and firebombs at Israeli forces. The military said Palestinians shot at them, wounding a soldier, and troops returned fire.

In the West Bank town of Tulkarem, a bystander was killed during a gun battle between militants from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades militia and Israeli forces, Palestinians said. The Israeli military said soldiers fired at firebomb-throwing Palestinians.

Earlier in Gaza, soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian disguised in an Israeli army uniform who apparently was trying to infiltrate a Jewish settlement for the militant Islamic Jihad.

Israeli forces on Monday arrested a Palestinian bombmaker in the Dheisheh refugee camp next to Bethlehem, military officials said. They said Sabar Massalmeh made bombs for attacks carried out by Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Fatah, including two deadly attacks in Jerusalem.

Also Monday, the World Food Program complained that Israeli forces blew up a warehouse with $271,000 worth of food in Gaza.

The U.N. group's statement said soldiers surrounded the building in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya on Saturday night, checked inside, planted explosives and then blew it up.