Five Palestinians, including baby and women, killed by Israeli fire; U.S. demands Israel to withdraw from Hebron
Two Palestinians who tried early Sunday to attack a Jewish settlement on the Gaza Strip border were shot dead by Israeli forces. Three soldiers were wounded in this incident.
"Two armed Palestinian terrorists trying to penetrate the community of Yevul bumped into Israeli soldiers. In an exchange of fire, both of the terrorists were killed," a military source told Reuters.
In the southern Gaza Strip, a Palestinian was shot dead when a convoy of Israeli tanks and a bulldozer moved into the town of Rafah, Palestinian medical and security sources said.
Ibrahim Muhamed al-Ghuti, 26, died after being hit in the abdomen by gunfire from Israeli tanks early on Sunday, they said, according to AFP. About 15 Israeli tanks and a bulldozer entered the western side of Rafah taking over two buildings, they said.
The Palestinians reported that a three-year-old baby was also killed in the city. Witnesses and medics said that the toddler was killed in his bed when troops blew up a house next door. Palestinian medics identified the toddler as Tawfiq Brakeh and said his mother and a sister were wounded along with 25 other Palestinians in neighbouring homes.
The Palestinians said the soldiers blew up five houses, while Israeli army officials said one house was blown up and other houses were damaged when the troops came in and destroyed the tunnels.
Palestinian sources said Sunday that a 40-year-old woman was killed and two of her children were wounded by Israeli tank fire in the West Bank city of Jenin. The sources said that the woman and her children were traveling in a taxi when it was targeted by a tank shell.
The children were taken to a hospital in Jenin
On Saturday, a Palestinian teenager was shot dead by Israeli bullets in the northern West Bank town of Tulkarem, Palestinian medical sources and witnesses said.
Taher Abu Haatu, 19, died after being hit in the chest by machine-gun fire from Israeli tanks which entered the town in the evening, medical sources said. Haatu was standing outside his house during the hours of curfew when three Israeli tanks entered the city and began shooting into the streets, they added. Israel Radio reported that two soldiers were injured in Tulkarem.
The U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer, sent a strongly worded message to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office over the weekend, saying Israel had not met promises to ease tough restrictions imposed on the Palestinians, a diplomatic source said.
Washington is also demanding that Israel move forward on the Palestinian track, and withdraw - soon - from one or two cities on the West Bank.
Ahead of Sharon's departure for a meeting in Washington with President George W. Bush, the Americans have delivered messages to Sharon, calling on Israel to turn security over to the Palestinian Authority in Hebron, or some other West Bank city; to lessen pressures on residents of the territories; and to create mechanisms for the transfer of tax revenue from the Finance Ministry to PA coffers, Haaretz reported.
Sharon departs Monday night for the U.S..
Meanwhile, Israeli Defence Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer said Israel was intending to implement a new security plan which would see Israeli troops pulling out of Hebron.
"We've tried the Gaza and Bethlehem First (plan) but in Gaza it didn't work, so we want to implement the Bethlehem model in Hebron", the minister told reporters Sunday while en route to a 48-hour visit to Paris. Ben Eliezer did not elaborate further on the proposal, nor was there any indication of when it might take place.
On the political front, Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat was to name a new Cabinet soon to replace one that resigned.
Arafat's aides said Saturday the new Cabinet would be named within 10 days. Nabil Abu Rudeinah, Arafat spokesman said Arafat's Cabinet "will be appointed within the coming 10 days" and said it was "expected to include new faces."
"The new government will exert efforts to end the occupation, prepare for the elections and to continue the process of reform," Abu Rudeinah conveyed.
Another senior Palestinian official said Arafat might announce a new cabinet even sooner. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
- Israeli fire kills five Palestinians in Gaza Strip, including baby
- Walid Tawfiq in Paris for Gaza children
- Palestinian Gunfire Wounds Two Israeli Women in Hebron
- Israeli DM: Forces may withdraw from Hebron by end of the week
- Israel pleased with Palestinian cabinet resignation; PA: Elections just after Israeli withdrawal