Metzer shooting attack: Arafat orders investigation, Mofaz and Sharon vow harsh retaliation
Five Israelis were killed and three injured when a Palestinian infiltrated Kibbutz Metzer, near the 1967 border with the West Bank, close to midnight Sunday and opened fire.
Police sources said that the bodies of three adults and two children had been found.
The Palestinian entered a home and opened fire, after first firing on kibbutz members walking from the dining room to their homes. Israel Radio later reported that three people, mother and her two children, were killed in a home and two near the dining room.
The security coordinator at the kibbutz spotted the attacker and opened fire, but failed to hit him. The Palestinian had succeeded in fleeing the kibbutz.
The kibbutz is located on the Israeli side of the Green Line, north of Tulkarem.
Israeli police initially said that the number of shell casings found suggested more than one Palestinian was involved. But later, a commander in the Israeli border police, said that officials believed only one gunman carried out the attack.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack in phone calls to news agencies. "This attack was a message to the negotiators in Cairo that the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades will not stop its struggle and attacks against Israel," said a group spokesman in the northern West Bank, who gave his name as Abu Mujahid.
However, the Palestinian Authority issued a statement condemning the attack, particularly for targeting Israelis inside the Green Line. Arafat ordered an investigation of the events, it was reported.
A senior Israeli military source said Monday Israel would retaliate. "The attack in Metzer is extremely grave and requires a fitting response which will be forthcoming in the immediate future," a senior security source told The Jerusalem Post.
The source commented after Israel's Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz met with Israeli army chiefs to discuss a response to the attack. Mofaz is also expected to take up the issue later Monday with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
The attack came just a few hours after a car exploded nearby, killing its two Palestinian occupants in what Israeli police believed was a failed attempt at a suicide attack.
Two hours after the attack on the kibbutz, Israeli helicopters fired rockets into a large car repair shop in downtown Gaza City, witnesses said, according to AP. At least three Palestinians were wounded.
An army spokesman said one of the helicopters deployed in the attack fired four missiles at the shop. The workshop produced explosive devices and mortar shells used in recent attacks on Israeli settlements in and near the Gaza Strip, the Israeli spokesman said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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