An Israeli civilian was killed and an Israel Defense Forces officer sustained serious injuries yesterday when Palestinians set off a bomb near the Gaza Strip settlement of Morag.

Two Palestinians, members of Islamic Jihad, were killed in the incident, in which another two soldiers were lightly wounded.

The attack, for which Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility, took place at about 9:15 A.M.

A preliminary IDF inquiry found that three Palestinians from Rafah cut the fence that surrounds Morag's greenhouses early yesterday morning and planted a five-kilogram bomb. One man returned to Rafah, while the other two waited until a military convoy approached and then set off the bomb. They then opened fire on the convoy.

The force of the blast sent the first vehicle in the convoy flying several meters. Gideon Rivlin, 50, a resident of Gush Katif who was in charge of fortifying the area's settlements, was killed instantly by the blast, while Major Ophir Livius lost his leg. The other two soldiers in the jeep were lightly injured.

The soldiers in the other vehicles opened fire, killing one of the Palestinians. The other fled, but was eventually located by troops and killed as well. The Palestinians did not manage to set off additional bombs that soldiers later discovered in the area.

The army plans to open a more thorough inquiry into the incident in the coming days. The in-depth probe will focus mainly on two questions: Why was the cut fence not discovered by an early morning patrol of the greenhouse area? (One possibility is that the infiltration took place after the patrol passed.) And why did IDF lookouts in the area fail to spot the Palestinians? There has been heavy fighting throughout Gaza in recent days.

Morag, an isolated settlement located between Rafah and Khan Yunis, has been particularly hard hit by Palestinian attacks over the last half year, suffering several assaults that killed five Israelis.

In the West Bank yesterday, IDF soldiers killed two wanted Hamas operatives who were found hiding in a village near Ramallah. The soldiers went to Karwat Bani Zayid with the goal of arresting Wafi Shuabi and Abdullah Al-Dik. They surrounded the area where the two were thought to be holed up, asked the residents to leave, and when residents said that no one was left inside, began searching the houses. In one, they discovered a concealed room with a booby-trapped gas canister on the door. At that point, the two wanted men opened fire on the troops; the soldiers returned fire, killing both.

Later, the IDF bulldozed the house on the grounds that the residents had given the two men shelter.

According to the IDF, Shuabi and Al-Dik were responsible for several shooting and bombing attacks, including a combined shooting and bombing assault on a bus on the Trans-Samaria Highway, near the Barkan industrial park, a few months ago. IDF sources said that the two were planning a new attack, using a booby-trapped car, when they were killed. Shuabi was involved in preparing the explosives for the planned attack.

Arnon Regular contributed to this report.