Two Palestinians killed one injured in firefight with Israeli soldiers

Israeli troops raided a West Bank refugee camp early Friday, sparking a shootout that killed two Palestinian militants and badly wounded another, according to Palestinian officials and witnesses.

The fighting, part of a weeklong Israeli offensive against militants, came a day after Palestinian authorities began enforcing a ban on public displays of weapons in a key step toward imposing order in the chaotic Gaza Strip.

Also Thursday, Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank held municipal elections, expected to test the strength of the Islamic Hamas group in advance of January's parliamentary elections.

Pressing forward with its military campaign, Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinian gunmen in a shootout during a raid early Friday in the Balata refugee camp outside the West Bank city of Nablus.

The militants were from the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a militant group loosely affiliated with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, witnesses said. A third militant was badly wounded, they said.

The army did not give immediate details of the raid, reports the AP.

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