Two Palestinians were killed in exchanges of fire with Palestinian gunmen near the West Bank town of Tul Karem.
One of the gunmen died on the scene. The other suffered from serious wounds and was reported dead in hospital.
While the IDF insisted that the two terrorists carried Kalashnikov rifles and opened fire on the soldiers, Palestinian security officials said the men were unarmed and were killed for throwing stones an IDF jeep that entered the city. The jeep was damaged.
Meanwhile Palestinian officials reported heavy exchanges of fire between IDF troops and Palestinian gunmen affiliated with Fatah military wing, al-Aqsa Martyrs; Brigade, in a village near Jenin overnight.
Internal strife continues
Earlier Friday Palestinian gunmen shot and seriously wounded a police officer Friday who came to settle a dispute in Tul Karem.
The gunmen fired on police who were called to deal with an argument in a coffee shop, witnesses said.
The gunmen attacked and fired at the police officers when they entered the cafe, the witnesses said. One police officer was in critical condition after being shot in the stomach, hospital officials said.
Gunmen members of the Fatah and the al-Aqsa Brigades are often involved in such violent confrontation. However, no organization has claimed responsibility for the incident.
American President George W. Bush demanded Pa Chairman Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting in Washington to crackdown on armed factions and enforce law and order in Gaza. Sources said that Bush intended that Abbas exercise control over the groups associated with the PA and Fatah as well as with opposition organizations.
Efrat Weiss contributed to this report