Israeli soldiers kill two Palestinian gunmen in West Bank

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Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank on Saturday in what witnesses described as a skirmish triggered by an army raid near a troubled town.

In and around Jenin, military raids have intensified following a wave of street bombings in Israeli cities last year. The violence has further tarnished prospects for a resumption of U.S.-sponsored peace talks, which stalled in 2014.

Witnesses said Israeli soldiers clashed with gunmen before dawn, wounding one.

Two others fled with him, and after leaving him with local residents, they continued in a car, chased by soldiers until they were killed, witnesses added.

An army spokesman said soldiers opened fire in front of the car after being shot, and there were no Israeli casualties. There were blood stains inside the vehicle, which crashed into a wall during the incident.

Islamic Jihad said the two dead belong to the Palestinian militant group. One of the dead was also claimed to be a member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed branch of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction.

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