Israeli Army Kills At Least Ten Palestinian Militants

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:13 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - Many terror attacks are prevented by military operations like the one on Thursday, in which two Israeli security guards were mistaken for terrorists and killed, a former Israeli Defense Minister said on Friday.

Israel kept up its counter-terrorism operations on Friday despite the tragic accident.

At least 10 Palestinian militants were killed in two separate clashes with Israeli troops in the West Bank overnight and on Friday.

In the Jenin refugee camp, Israeli security forces were attempting to arrest Islamic Jihad militants who were suspected of planning to carry out a terror attack, the army said.

At least one guard outside the house was shot and killed by the Israeli forces, who then entered the house to make the arrests. Four more Islamic Jihad militants were killed inside, the army said.

Four assault rifles, ammunition, Israeli army uniforms and bullet proof vests were found in the house.

Not far from Jenin, in the village of Tamoun, five wanted Hamas militants were killed by Israeli troops on Thursday evening.

The troops entered the village to arrest the militants, who were suspected of planning a terrorist ambush. As the troops approached the hideout, the militants opened fire, the army said. The five terrorists were killed in exchanges of fire.

Troops found two M-16 assault rifles, a pistol and ammunition belt, as well as a bulletproof vest, grenades and a backpack that could hold the equipment and provisions for several days.

The army's assessment was that the five intended to carry out an attack in another area. All those killed were armed gunmen, the army said.

The investigation was continuing on Friday into the shooting of two Israeli security guards by Israeli troops who thought the two were terrorists.

The two, armed guards were hired to guard a telephone antenna. Apparently, soldiers in a nearby lookout were not informed that there were armed Israelis in the area. Troops had been put on high alert with an imminent warning of terrorists planning to carry out an attack and mistook the two.

One of the guards was killed by ground troops as he drove his security vehicle and the other by a helicopter when he tried to run away from the firing.

Despite the incident, one military source said that the army would have to wait for the results of the investigation to determine how it would affect Israeli operations against terrorists.

Former Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said that while the incident was a tragedy, military operations like these were responsible for preventing many terror attacks.

"Twenty-four hours under attack from terror, the public doesn't feel this, the public doesn't know how much the army is dealing in prevention," Ben-Eliezer said in a radio interview.

"This prevention is large. I think 90 percent of the potential terror attacks are prevented by actions of this kind," he said. "Sometimes one in a million also something like this happens and it's a pity that it happens."

Meanwhile, two Israelis - a father and his adult son - were seriously wounded in a shooting attack in Jerusalem on Thursday evening. Police are calling it an apparent terror attack.