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Israeli brutality shows no letup

GAZA CITY, 27 October — Israel yesterday continued its policy of assassinations when its troops gunned down three members of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas near a Jewish settlement in the northern Gaza Strip in the second such attack this month. Israeli Army radio said troops had intercepted four Palestinians for what it said were trying to breach the security fence surrounding the Dugit settlement and killed three. It said the fourth apparently escaped into Palestinian territory.

Israeli radio reported the Hamas activists had come from nearby Beit Lahiya village. Israeli tanks stationed outside Dugit and the neighboring settlement of Alei Sinai resorted to firing shells and shooting heavy machine-guns into the area around Beit Lahiya and penetrated into Palestinian territory, a Palestinian security source said.

Hamas identified its dead as Othman Al-Razayna, 22, Iyad Al-Batesh, 21, from Jabalia refugee camp outside of Gaza City, and Fuad Al-Dhashan, 17, from Gaza City. “Our Mujahedeen (fighters) opened fire, crushing Israel’s military imperialists in Dugit settlement, which is on our land in northern Gaza,” the group’s military wing, Ezzedine Al-Qassem, said in a statement.

Hamas said its men launched a mortar bomb at the settlement, fired machine-guns and threw more than 20 grenades during a 30-minute exchange of fire.

Alei Sinai was the scene of a similar Hamas attack on Oct. 2 when two militants seized a house and killed an Israeli woman soldier and her boyfriend and wounded 15 others before being shot and killed by Israeli snipers. That attack sparked a violent response from Israel, which bombarded official buildings in Gaza City and sent tanks into a Palestinian area in raids that left six Palestinians dead.

A 25-year-old Palestinian who was shot and critically wounded in the chest by Israeli soldiers in Beit Hanun in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 8 has also died of his wounds, Palestinian sources said. Israeli troops also shot dead an Israeli Bedouin Arab who tried to force his way into the Gaza Strip at the wheel of his tractor for reasons that were not immediately clear, an army statement said. The incident at Dugit came as Israeli forces maintained their grip on six Palestinian cities in the West Bank despite pledging a phased withdrawal after coming under heavy international pressure.

A joint Israeli-Palestinian security committee later reached an agreement for the troops to withdraw from the Bethlehem-Beit Jala area tonight, an Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman said. The self-rule cities were stormed by tanks after Tourism Minister Rehavem Zeevi was gunned down in an east Jerusalem hotel on Oct. 17 and some 50 Palestinians have been slain in the operations.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s spokesman Raanan Gissin said yesterday Israel still wanted the handover of militants suspected in Zeevi’s killing and a crackdown by the PA on hard-line groups. But Palestinian President Yasser Arafat said the Israelis could not expect the extradition of Zeevi’s killers. “There is a law and we are going to apply the law and apply the agreements between us and the Israelis in this matter,” Arafat said after talks with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer. “The law is the law. They have to respect the agreements.”

Source: Arab News©



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