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Five Palestinians were killed and some 35 were injured yesterday in the Gaza Strip during an Israel Defense Forces operation in the Jabalya refugee camp, where troops took up positions inside homes.

Also yesterday, a full-blown closure was imposed on the territories. It is expected to remain in force at least until the end of the Yom Kippur holiday.

The IDF operation to curtail the firing of Qassam rockets against Israeli towns inside the Green Line from the northern Gaza Strip began yesterday morning with troops taking up positions in homes in the refugee camp.

Fighting ensued with Palestinian gunmen, who fired automatic weapons and anti-tank rockets at the IDF forces.

Palestinian sources reported five dead in Jabalya and the nearby town of Beit Lahia. Among the dead is a 9-year-old boy, Munir Dages, who was caught in the cross fire and later died in hospital.

Another Palestinian was killed when an IDF helicopter fired a rocket against a group of gunmen near a mosque in the eastern part of the refugee camp. The dead man is Hajj Ali, 24, a Hamas activist. Seven others were injured in the attack.

Two other Palestinian gunmen were killed later in the day: Sammy Tabet, 18, and Muhammad Izadin, 22.

Mahmoud Darba, a Palestinian policeman, resident of the camp, was killed in another incident during the IDF operation.

In the West Bank city of Ramallah, a 16-year-old Palestinian was killed when he was hit by an IDF jeep that was under attack by rock-throwing youth.

In another incident yesterday, IDF troops blew up a bomb hidden by militants in a Muslim cemetery, prompting an outcry by Palestinians who said the graveyard had been desecrated.

Israel said the militants were to blame for the damage when troops detonated the bomb concealed in an empty grave. The location is especially sensitive as it is near Rachel's Tomb.

The head of Bethlehem's Islamic Waqf, which oversees the cemetery, said even the presence of a bomb would not justify the army's actions and it should have coordinated with Muslim religious authorities.

"This is the first time we see the remains of the dead strewn into the open air. It is a violation of Islamic law, a very serious violation," said Waqf chief Nasr Nawfal.

"Even the entry of an Israeli soldier to the cemetery is forbidden."