Israel assassinates Fatah leader in Hebron; Palestinians, Israelis look for ways to end standoff at Nativity Church
The local leader of Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Hebron was killed overnight in an Israeli helicopter strike, Palestinian security sources said.
Marwan Zallum, 30, was killed along with Samir Abu Rajab, 42, a member of Arafat's Force 17 presidential guard when Israeli helicopters fired a rocket on their car. Zallum has been accused by Israel of mounting a series of attacks against Jewish settlers.
Hundreds of angry Palestinians took to the streets of Hebron screaming for revenge after the men's charred bodies were pulled from the burning wreckage early on Tuesday.
"The assassination of Marwan Zallum is another sign that the Israeli government is not interested in peace but in military escalation," Mohammed Dahlan, head of Palestinian Preventive Security in the Gaza Strip, told Reuters. "At the end of the day it will increase the hatred of the Palestinians toward Israeli deeds," he said.
Elsewhere, Israeli and Palestinian officials are to meet in an attempt to end the three-week standoff at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, a Palestinian official said.
Palestinian legislative council member Salah al-Taamari said Yasser Arafat had given his approval for the meeting in Bethlehem, where about 200 Palestinians have been holed up inside the church along with around 30 monks since Israeli troops invaded the town on April 2.
Al-Taamari, who has been negotiating to try to settle the crisis, said last week that those inside the church have run out of food and water, accusing Israeli soldiers of blocking supplies of food and medical supplies while electricity had also been cut. (Albawaba.com)
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