Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon threatened to use harsh means if Palestinian resistance launches attacks during the disengagement, slated to start mid-August.

Sharon’s comments followed the deadly attack, carried out by Palestinian resistance at Gush Katif settlement bloc junction, early Sunday, in which two Israelis, two Palestinians were killed and one Israeli soldier was injured.

Sharon said he delivered this message to visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Israel will ‘not put up’ with Palestinian attacks and the military will use ‘different’ means to stop them, Sharon told the cabinet weekly meeting.

‘I made it clear to the U.S. secretary of state that our reaction [to attacks] will be of a different kind, with the addition of very harsh means, both if it takes place during the evacuation, or after we evacuate the Gaza Strip.’

Two Israeli settlers were killed as a group of Palestinian armed men ambushed their car, while en-route to Kissufim settlement in the Gush Katif settlement bloc in the southern Gaza Strip, Israeli sources reported on Sunday.

Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa brigades of the Islamic Jihad and Fatah claimed responsibility for the ambush.

Israeli soldiers rushed to the area of the shooting and joined the exchange of fire that erupted between the settlers and the Palestinian men at Gush Katif junction.  Army sources reported that the two Palestinians were killed in the clashes.

An Israeli soldier was also injured in the clashes.  The soldier identified as Ami Shaked and his injuries were described as minor.

Israeli sources identified the two settler couple as Dov, 58 and Rachel Kol, 53, while names of the Palestinians were not released.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted in its online edition the Gush Katif settlement spokesman, Eran Sternberg as saying that, Shaked and another civilian were those who fired and killed at least one of the Palestinians. The soldiers, Sternberg said, ‘did not fire even one bullet at this stage.’

Following the attack, the Israeli army partitioned the strip into two parts by closing the Gush Katif junction and prevented Palestinian travelers between the Gaza city and the southern part of the strip.