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Israeli airstrike kills 5 militants in Gaza

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Israel
Gaza
Ehud Olmert
Mahmoud Abbas

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed five Palestinian militants on Friday, security sources said.

Israel's military said those killed were training at a base used by the Popular Resistance Committees. The group has attacked Israel with rockets, reports said.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed the Israel Air Force had carried out an operation in Gaza. Palestinian medical sources said the five dead were all militants.

According to Palestinian security sources and to sources in Salah al-Din Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, four of the dead militants are from the same family.

Earlier Friday, Israeli forces raided the Balata Refugee Camp in the West Bank, the Israeli military said. One person, identified by Palestinian security sources as Mohammed Kutub, was killed during a battle sparked by the raid, the military said. It said several wanted Palestinians were arrested.

Israel Defense Forces said Kutub had a Molotov cocktail in his hand.

Earlier, Palestinians had fired Qassam rockets into Israel from northern Gaza. No casualties were reported. In response, the IDF shelled areas in northern Gaza.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spoke Friday with newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, but afterward the two sides gave conflicting reports on whether a meeting is scheduled between the two leaders.

Olmert's office said there is no meeting on the agenda. But Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erakat said the two men agreed to meet after Olmert returns from Washington later this month.

Erakat said Abbas called Olmert to congratulate him on the formation of a new government. Olmert this week assembled a coalition to provide a majority in the 120-seat Knesset, the Israeli parliament. (Full story)

Also Friday, thousands of Palestinians turned out for rallies across Gaza and the West Bank to support the Hamas-led government, Reuters reported.

Western nations have cut direct aid while Hamas, which has pledged to destroy Israel, leads the Palestinian Authority. Protesters called the aid cutoff "a starvation and siege" of Palestinians, Reuters reported.

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