A Palestinian militant shot an Israel Defense Forces soldier to death Saturday afternoon east of the West Bank city of Nablus.

The gunman fired toward a group of soldiers from a distance of 10 meters near the Bekaot checkpoint on the road linking the Jordan Valley to Nablus. IDF soldiers returned fire, killing the militant. Medical crews pronounced the victim dead at the scene.

The soldier was named as Staff Sergeant Roi Farjun, 21, of Yehud.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, linked to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction, claimed responsibility for the attack. The group identified the gunman as Muhammad Bani Ouda, 22, of the village of Tamoun, near Jenin.

Security officials arrested a Palestinian taxi driver suspected of transporting the gunman to the scene. Investigators are also trying to assess whether the driver was involved in the shooting.

Police kill two wanted Palestinians An elite police unit killed two wanted militants near the West Bank city of Bethlehem after a nearly two-hour standoff Friday, Palestinian security sources and witnesses said.

An IDF spokeswoman said the two Islamic Jihad members were shot and killed after they resisted arrest and opened fire on the soldiers.

Palestinian security sources and witnesses said that more than 50 soldiers were involved in the operation, hiding in a cave near a village east of Bethlehem when the Israeli force surrounded them.

The IDF said they were armed with assault weapons and hand grenades.

In Gaza, troops shot at two Palestinians in a no-man's land by the security fence.

Palestinian medics said they had found the body of a gunman in Gaza from the Islamic Jihad group, north of the Karni commercial crossing between the coastal strip and Israel. Another Palestinian was wounded, they said.

3 Hamas men killed while handling explosives The bodies of three Hamas militants were brought to a hospital in the West Bank town of Jenin early Friday.

Palestinian security officials said it appeared one had an explosives belt strapped to his body when it accidentally went off, killing him and the other two men.

The incident occurred near the village of Deir Ghazallah, they said.