Mon, Aug 28, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Israelis kill two Hamas militants


Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip yesterday killed two Hamas militants and wounded two TV cameramen, while Israeli troops searched for tunnels under Gaza's border fence with Israel.

A first strike, in the early hours, hit an armored car belonging to the Reuters news agency, wounding five people, including the two cameramen, Palestinian witnesses and hospital officials said.

The Israeli army said that in the darkness, no press markings were seen on the vehicle. The army said the car was moving in a suspicious manner near Israeli troops.

A Hamas militant was killed in another air raid, hospital officials said. The army later reported another strike, against a group of Palestinians carrying an anti-tank missile. Hamas said one of its men was killed in that attack.

The violence came as Israeli soldiers -- backed by two dozen tanks, two bulldozers, helicopters and unmanned aerial drones combed an area just inside the Gaza Strip in what an Israeli military statement said was a search for "terror infrastructure," particularly tunnels.

The Reuters crew members, Fadel Shama'a, 23, and Sabah Hamida, 25, who worked for a local TV company, were in Shajaiyeh overnight to film the military activity. They had just opened the doors of their armored vehicle when it was hit by two missiles, according to Shamas Odeh, chief of Reuters TV in Gaza.

The cameramen and three bystanders were moderately injured by shrapnel and all five were sent for surgery, hospital officials said.

The white SUV was emblazoned with the Reuters logo and had "TV" and "Press" written on it in English, Arabic and Hebrew.

Meanwhile, embattled Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert mulled yesterday whether to set up a state commission to examine the conduct of the Lebanon war.

Ahead of the weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday, Olmert huddled with top aides late into the night, weighing the options between a state commission and a government inquiry.

"No decision has been made yet on what kind of commission will be appointed to investigate the war -- state or governmental," the Maariv daily quoted a close Olmert aide as saying.

At least 57 percent of Israelis favor an inquiry, Mina Tzemach, the chief of the Dahaf polling agency, told army radio.

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