Palestinian killed, 3 Israelis wounded in W. Bank, Gaza Strip; Hamas says Sharon re-election to bring further escalation
A 19-year-old Palestinian youth was killed and 10 others wounded in clashes with Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip. The clashes occurred in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.
In a separate incident, an Israeli soldier was lightly wounded by when a fragment struck him in the head after coming under Palestinian sniper fire at the Gaza Strip settlement of Rafah-Yam.
Elsewhere, two Israeli settlers were wounded Wednesday afternoon in a shooting attack near the settlement of Beit El in the West Bank. One settler was reported to be seriously wounded.
Meanwhile, Palestinians voiced fear on Wednesday that a right-wing surge behind Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's re-election would lead to an Israeli reoccupation of the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian cabinet minister Azzam al-Ahmed said Sharon would exploit a looming U.S.-led war on Iraq to "escalate his aggression against Palestinians, namely to reoccupy Gaza".
Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi, senior leader of Hamas said Sharon's victory strengthened Hamas's case. "It was a loss to all those who believed in peace with the Zionist entity. Escalation will be the master of the near future. Israel will escalate its aggression and Palestinians will continue to resist," he told Reuters.
"He failed to achieve what he promised the people and the people re-elected him. This is evidence that it (Israel) has started to collapse and it will end," he said. "No doubt the situation will be difficult and the confrontation (with Israel) will be difficult, but Sharon will be defeated."
Damascus-based group the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said Sharon's victory heralded more violence. "The Israeli elections herald...the return of expansionism and blood and killings in occupied Palestinian territories and the return of Zionist violence against Arab countries," DFLP said in a statement. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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