Five Israel Defense Forces soldiers were killed in two separate incidents yesterday in the first major attacks since last week's Aqaba summit.

Four soldiers were killed and four others were wounded yesterday morning when three Palestinians dressed in IDF uniforms infiltrated an army position overlooking the industrial zone at the Erez junction. The three Palestinians were killed by other soldiers at the fortification.

Later in the day, an IDF soldier was killed in Hebron's casbah when soldiers chased two Palestinian gunmen who earlier had wounded a Border Police on guard at the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

Defense sources said the IDF would respond to the killings, according to its policy after every Palestinian attack. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz instructed the army not to change its policy. However, "Israel does not want to obstruct the Palestinian government of Mahmoud Abbas, and will not contribute to an escalation," government sources said.

As a result, efforts will continue to reach an agreement with the settlers' movement for the peaceful evacuation of a dozen uninhabited outposts. "Irrespective of the attacks, all the outposts that the prime minister promised at Aqaba would be evacuated will be removed." The IDF is continuing plans for the evacuations, possibly as early as tonight. Among those slated for removal are Shavei Shomron Ma'arav, Emuna, Ginto Arie, Givat Ha'i, Tel Binyamin, Ramat Megoran, and the eastern cemetery at Beit El.

Following the Erez junction shooting, the industrial zone and border crossing were closed barring some 4,000 Palestinians from getting to their work in the industrial zone and another 10,000 from crossing through the junction to get to their work in Israel.

America's two top foreign policy officials, Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, called on both sides not to let the attacks derail the road map.

Three of the dead soldiers in Erez were reservists, while the fourth was a career soldier. The four were identified as Sergeant Major Boaz Emet, 23, from Beit She'an; Sergeant Major (res.) Udi Eilat, 38, from Eilat; Sergeant Major (res.) Assaf Abergil, 23, from Eilat; and Sergeant Major (res.) Chen Angel, 31, from Ramat Gan.

Emet and Abergil were buried yesterday, Angel is to be buried today and Eilat's funeral has yet to be scheduled.

The attack began around 5:30 A.M. The gunmen, using the cover of a thick morning fog, slipped into a line of Palestinian workers waiting to enter Israel, then jumped

over a fence and advanced toward the army post, circling back to the rear of an army outpost overlooking the border crossing. The three, dressed in IDF uniforms and carrying Kalashnikov rifles and hand grenades, then jumped over a small retaining wall and made their way to the rear gate to the fort.

They encountered the first soldier working on a tank parked at the entrance, shooting him in the head. They then advanced toward the camp, killing two more soldiers at the entrance. While one of the Palestinians remained near the entrance, the other two penetrated deeper into the fortification, firing at soldiers who were gathered at the empty square in the heart of the fort.

The soldiers responded quickly, rebuffing the attackers, killing all three. The entire episode lasted less than 20 minutes, said the army.

The attack was considered unique because three armed Palestinian groups - Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which is affiliated with Fatah - issued what they claimed was a joint statement of responsibility. A leaflet gave the names of the gunmen, all in their early 20s, one from each group. "This joint operation was committed to confirm our people's united choice of holy war and resistance until the end of occupation over our land and holy places," the leaflet said. It also said that the gunmen used Beit Hanun, currently under IDF control, as the base from which they launched the attack.

Southern Command head Maj. Gen. Doron Almog said the attack was "a provocation against the peace process, Abu Mazen and Mohammed Dahlan," the new Palestinian security minister.

Almog said the only difference between yesterday's attack and five previous attacks by Palestinians at Erez since the beginning of the intifada in September 2000, was that the three armed groups joined forces.

No meeting between Mofaz and Dahlan has yet been set, but Almog said yesterday that Israel had given the Palestinians a list of wanted men in Gaza. So far, no arrests have been made, he said. Shin Bet and Defense Ministry sources said they knew nothing about such a list.

The IDF yesterday emphasized that the Erez attack was a direct attack on the Gazan economy. By the time of the attack, some 6,800 Palestinians had passed through the junction's border crossing, but today the border will be closed.

IDF officers rejected charges that there was a security flaw at the fortification, with Almog saying the soldiers "operated well, with determination and courageously." He said "it is impossible to create a system without flaws," when asked why four soldiers were nonetheless killed in the surprise attack.

The Hebron incident began when two Palestinians pushing a cart pulled out two Kalashnikovs and began firing at a group of Border Police on the scene. One of the border policemen was lightly wounded in the leg, and the two gunmen managed to escape into the casbah.

The army immediately imposed a curfew in the casbah and Nahal and Golani soldiers chased them, going from house to house. When a unit tried to reach a rooftop in the casbah, shots were fired, killing the soldier. The two Palestinians were then killed in a brief firefight.