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Another former air force pilot, Amnon Nir, yesterday signed a letter refusing to participate in targeted killings in the territories, bringing the number of signatories to 28 - of whom eight do active service.

Two of the active-duty helicopter pilots have been summoned to meetings with their base commander later this week, but both told Haaretz that they will refuse to retract their signatures.

"We remain firm in our opinion," they said. "Furthermore, we are encouraged by the more than 500 letters we have received from every segment of the population, including a moving letter from a Holocaust survivor and letters from Israelis living overseas who wrote that we had restored their pride."

The pilots rejected Defense MinisterMofaz's assertion yesterday that their letter harmed their comrades in arms.