Israel plans to escalate measures against Palestinian groups as four Palestinians killed in Gaza Strip, W. Bank
Four Palestinian men were killed by Israeli fire late Saturday and early Sunday while two boys were shot raiding a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, Israel's Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, said Sunday that Israel is planning to take "meaningful steps against the terror infrastructure," Israel Radio reported.
Mofaz, speaking before the Cabinet at its weekly meeting, also said that in the last week 104 Palestinians had been arrested, including senior activists. Mofaz also said that there remained a high number of alerts of possible suicide attacks.
A 35-year-old Palestinian man, Hazem Fanoun, was shot dead Sunday morning north of Hebron. Palestinian sources said the man was fired upon from a passing Israeli vehicle.
In the northern West Bank, Bassem Shanir, 20, was shot dead late Saturday and nine others wounded, two critically, in clashes with soldiers at the Askar refugee camp in Nablus, Palestinian witnesses and medical sources said.
He was hit when Palestinian youths attacked Israeli armoured vehicles with rocks and other debris and the soldiers answered with live fire, they said.
An Israeli military spokesman said the soldiers fired on a "terrorist who was preparing to throw a Molatov cocktail."
Elsewhere, Palestinian sources said three Palestinians were injured when Israeli soldiers stopped their vehicle in El-Bireh, outside Ramallah, and opened fire. The army denied anyone was hurt, saying the suspect vehicle was stopped, and its occupants fled before being arrested after warning shots were fired, AFP reported.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces backed by tanks and helicopters swept into the town of Khan Younis overnight Saturday, killing two Palestinians and injuring 14 in an operation in which some 30 metal workshops were destroyed, the Israeli army said.
There were fierce exchanges of fire during the operation, with Palestinian fighters using RPGs and grenades against the troops. The Israeli forces pulled out of the central Gaza Strip town at 3.30 A.M. (0130GMT).
In northern Gaza Strip, Israeli troops raided the town of Beit Hanoun in the early hours of Sunday morning and destroyed the house of Islamic Jihad activist, Mohammed el Masri, who was killed when carrying out a suicide attack against an Israeli naval vessel off the Gaza coast two months ago.
An Israeli military spokesman said the army had conducted "counter-terrorist actions" in the two Gaza towns.
Hours after these raids, three Qassem rockets fired from the Gaza Strip and hit the southern Israeli town of Sderot. Two Israelis were lightly wounded.
Late Saturday, two Palestinian brothers, apparently aged eight and 13, infiltrated the Netzarim settlement south of Gaza City, but were wounded and captured by Israeli soldiers.
"The 13-year-old child has bullet wounds and the other is suffering from a hip fracture," an Israeli spokeswoman told AFP. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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