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5 Palestinian militants killed in strikes
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    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Clashes on Friday between Israeli troops and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip left five militants dead, further undermining efforts to bring a brief truce to the violence-wracked area.
    Israeli aircraft sent missiles flying at three Hamas militants on motorcycles, killing all three, Gaza health officials said. The Israeli military said the men were carrying anti-tank missiles.
    Two other Palestinian militants from the Islamic Jihad group were killed in central Gaza, health officials said. The military said it fired at gunmen approaching the security fence along Israel’s border.
    The violence came a day after a Palestinian suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden truck into a Gaza-Israel border crossing. Although the bomber killed only himself, the attack reinforced skepticism about Egyptian-led truce efforts, and set back Palestinian demands to ease the Israeli-led blockade of Gaza, imposed after Hamas overran the coastal territory a year ago.
    Abu Ahmad, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad, said the attack was meant to ‘‘send a message’’ to Israel that if it didn’t accept a truce, ‘‘Gaza is not going to be a place where you will enjoy stability.’’
    The truce deal has been elusive, with both sides setting tough conditions. Hamas wants Israel and Egypt to open sealed border crossings with Gaza, while Israel demands the return of a captured soldier held in Gaza.
    Still, there were signs a cease-fire deal was still on the table. Israeli military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement had been made, confirmed that Amos Gilad, a senior Israeli defense official, would travel to Egypt on Sunday for more talks.
    And Ismail Ridwan, a Hamas leader, said the group has asked the Egyptians for more details on Israel’s response to Egypt’s truce proposal.
    Separately, Israel’s military said in a statement Friday that troops discovered missiles and an anti-tank launcher in the yard of a school in east Gaza, close to Israel’s border. Militants have used school grounds to fire rockets into Israel in the past. Children do not attend school on Friday in Gaza.
    AP correspondent Ibrahim Barzak contributed to this report from Gaza City.

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