Four Palestinians killed in West Bank and Gaza Strip; Israel considering expulsion of suicide bomber father
Four Palestinians were killed Monday in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In the West Bank city of Tulkarm, a Palestinian bystander was shot and killed during a gunbattle in the town's center between Palestinians and Israeli troops attempting to arrest them, reports said.
Earlier, Israeli troops imposing a curfew in the West Bank city of Jenin shot dead a Palestinian youth and wounded 16 people in a crowded market on Monday, Palestinian witnesses and hospital sources said.
Palestinian witnesses said the troops left Jenin after arresting two senior Islamic Jihad members.
The troops, backed by two tanks and two armoured vehicles, opened fire on Palestinians shopping for groceries ahead of the four-day Eid el-Fitr holiday that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan and starts on Thursday, the witnesses said.
Palestinians returned fire but witnesses said the
15-year-old boy was killed and many of the wounded were hit in the first round of Israeli fire.
Elsewhere, an Israeli soldier was lightly wounded and a Palestinian was killed early Monday when the latter was trying to infiltrate into the Gaza Strip settlement of Netzarim. Later, one Palestinian was killed when Palestinians fired two mortars at the Erez industrial zone in the Gaza Strip, hitting Palestinian laborers coming home from work, Israeli reports said. Nine others were injured.
In another development, the family of the suicide bomber who carried out the attack in the Jerusalem two weeks ago, Nail Hilal, said that Israel is considering expelling Hilal's father to the Gaza Strip after he expressed his support for the attack. The Israeli army has already demolished the family's home in the West Bank.
Meanwhile, Israeli Army Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon said the only way to improve relations with the Palestinians is by expelling Yasser Arafat, media reports said.
Speaking in Washington, Lt.-Gen. Ya'alon said Arafat must be forced out of the region and he called on the United States to do more on this matter.
According to the repoers, Ya'alon said that Israel and other countries should treat the Palestinian Authority in the way the allies did with Germany after the war. He added that the majority of Israelis understand that in the end, most of the settlements will have to be dismantled.
Ya'alon stated Hamas had agreed to far-reaching concessions during secret negotiations it had conducted with Palestinian leaders Abu Mazen and Mohammed Dahlan a few months ago. He called the Abu Mazen-Dahlan effort "a silent coup" against PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, and said it had the aim of making Abu Mazen a powerful prime minister of the Palestinian Authority. According to Ya'alon, the two initiated talks with Hamas behind Arafat's back in an effort to reach a hudna, a three-month cease-fire. The Israeli chief of staff said Hamas agreed to the cease-fire, but the Damascus-based leadership of the movement nixed it.
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