Extremist Jewish Group Claims Responsibility for Killing Palestinian, Wounding Three Others
An extremist Jewish group has claimed responsibility for killing a Palestinian and injuring three others in a drive-by shooting near occupied east Jerusalem on Wednesday night, said reports.
In the attack, which took place near the settlement of Mishor Adumim, 15 shots were fired from a passing car at a vehicle carrying the four Palestinians.
The driver, 45-year-old Awni Ali, was killed and lost control of the vehicle, said Haaretz newspaper.
The four Palestinians, businesspeople from Hebron, are all members of the same family.
A group calling itself Shalhevet Gilad claimed responsibility for the attack, which it said was in revenge for the killing by Palestinian gunmen of 10-month-old Shalhevet Pass in Hebron and Gilad Zar, the Shomron regional council security officer, the paper said.
Palestinian Cabinet Minister Ziad Abu-Ziad insisted Thursday that settlers were responsible for the attack and that a mistake could not have been made because the vehicle had Palestinian licence plates.
"It's absolutely clear (what happened)," he said, "but someone wants to cover up."
Meanwhile, the Yesha Council of Jewish settlements issued a statement denouncing the murder, saying that those who carried out the attack should be punished.
"If the shots near Mishor Adumim were fired by a Jew, we denounce it. This type of behavior is not allowed and can hurt the settlement movement," the statement said, cited by the paper.
But the Israeli army officials said they believed the drive-by shooting attack was a case of mistaken identity -- rather than a revenge act carried out by Jewish extremists -- and that the shooters had intended to target Israelis.
The commander of Israeli army forces in the West Bank, Benny Gantz, told Israel Radio that "my assessment is that this was a terror attack that went wrong," Haaretz quoted him as saying.
Gantz added that the investigation would also take into account other possibilities.
Since the outbreak of the latest Israeli-Palestinian conflict last September, Reuters reports that Palestinians have killed approximately 88 Israelis with weapons ranging from stones and knives to machineguns and car bombs. The latest suicide bombing raises that toll by at least 20. Israeli military sources have reported well over 600 injuries to Israelis of Jewish descent.
In the same time period, according to CNN, Israeli soldiers and armed Jewish settlers have killed 13 Arab Israelis and 450 Palestinians with weapons ranging from machineguns and tanks to US-made Apache helicopter gunships and F-16s. The most recent Israeli tank attack raises that death toll to 453.
According to Amnesty International, nearly 100 of the Palestinians killed were children.
In addition, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society has reported over 14,000 Palestinians wounded.
Jewish author Noam Chomsky, who according to a New York Times Book Review article is “arguably the most important intellectual alive,” has been quoted as saying: “State terrorism is an extreme form of terrorism, generally much worse than individual terrorism because it has the resources of a state behind it.” – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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