2 Israeli soldiers shot dead by gunmen

Other News Materials 28 December 2007 21:03 (UTC +04:00)

( AP ) - Two off-duty Israeli soldiers hiking in the West Bank were killed Friday by Palestinian gunmen but before they died, they managed to fire at their assailants and kill one of them, according to the military and a woman who was with the hikers but escaped unharmed.

The woman, who was not identified, told Israel Radio she and the two Israelis, who were both in their 20s, had been hiking in the hills outside the Palestinian town of Hebron when they were approached by a jeep carrying several Palestinian gunmen who fired at them. The army confirmed those details and added that the two Israelis returned fire with assault rifles they were carrying before they died.

The army said a second Palestinian assailant was seriously wounded in the firefight. Palestinian security officials confirmed one Palestinian died in the clash. No Palestinian militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Witnesses who arrived at the site later said they saw a jeep riddled with bullet holes and spattered with blood being towed away for investigation. They said Israeli troops and Palestinian police were working together at the scene.

The army said the two soldiers killed were Jewish settlers who lived in Kiryat Arba, a settlement next to Hebron.