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Several die in Gaza crossing attack
At least five Israelis and three Palestinians have been killed in an explosion set off by Palestinian resistance fighters at a vital Gaza crossing, the Israeli military says.
Thursday's attack on the Karni crossing was the biggest since Mahmud Abbas won Sunday's election to succeed Yasir Arafat as head of the Palestinian Authority.
The attack took place just before 11pm (2100 GMT) at the crossing where farm produce and other goods enter and leave the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian fighters entered the crossing in a bomb-laden truck minutes before it was to close, the Israeli military said. As the explosives detonated, at least two fighters stormed the Israeli positions.
Palestinian officials were not immediately available for comment. Abbas has been trying to persuade resistance groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad to agree to a ceasefire, but so far with no success.
Shortly afterwards, an Israeli helicopter fired two missiles at a target in a Gaza refugee camp.
Witnesses said the missiles struck a medical centre in Deir el Balah refugee camp run by an Islamic charity with links to Hamas.
There were no immediate reports of casualties.
Claims of responsibility
In a statement, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades - affiliated with Abbas' Fatah faction - said the fighters were killed "in a martyrdom operation" near the Karni crossing in southern Gaza.
Hamas also claimed responsibility for the operation.
The Israeli military blamed two Palestinian bombers for the attack.
According to reports on Israeli radio, it appeared that both bombers had been killed.
Armed forces radio said a strong explosion from a 150-kg charge was heard around the Karni terminal crossing as a number of Israeli forces were moving towards it.
Israeli rescue services said ambulances faced difficulty in entering the area because of an exchange of gunfire.
About 45 minutes after the attack, the gunfire subsided, Israeli radio said.
There are several Israeli military installations near the crossing.