Settler Killed, Another Injured In West Bank; Ben Eliezer Supports Lifting Arafat Travel Ban, Sharon Objects
An Israeli settler was killed Friday afternoon during a shooting attack on his vehicle as he was traveling north of Jerusalem, according to HaAretz.
Earlier Friday, a woman resident of the West Bank settlement of Efrat was lightly injured when a Palestinian set off a small bomb in a supermarket in the settlement. The bomber was shot and killed by an armed shopper.
Israeli Police are investigating whether the man tried to set off an explosive device he was wearing on a belt, which had only partially detonated due to a fault, or whether he had detonated a different bomb and intended to set off the explosives on the belt in another area.
Relatives identified the bomber as Mohammed Tawfiq Shamali, aged 24, from the village of Douha, next to the West Bank city of Bethlehem. There was no immediate claim of responsibility from a Palestinian group.
Palestinians reported that the Israeli army had closed off Bethlehem following the attack. An Israeli army spokesman denied that the move was a closure, saying that the blockade was only temporary, but would not specify when it would be lifted.
Israel Radio reported that the bomber was a construction worker at the settlement who had a permit to reside inside Israel.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian gunman was seriously wounded Friday afternoon by return fire after he shot at Israeli soldiers from a passing car at an occupation army roadblock north of the West Bank city of Hebron.
No Israeli soldiers were injured during this attack.
In another incident, an Israeli settler was injured Friday afternoon when he was mistakenly shot by Israeli troops north of the West Bank city of Hebron. The driver sustained moderate to serious injuries.
This incident took place after Palestinians opened fire on a private Israeli car. The driver of the vehicle returned fire in the direction of the shots before continuing on his journey from Hebron to Jerusalem.
Israeli soldiers manning the nearby roadblock thought that the shots were an attack from a Palestinian car and returned fire, hitting the driver. His wife and two children were apparently suffering from shock as a result of the incident. All four family members were taken to a hospital in Jerusalem.
The Israeli army launched a search for the Palestinian gunmen who fired the first shots, and have placed the West Bank village of Beit Omar under curfew.
Arafat Travel Ban
Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Friday refused a proposal by Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer to allow Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to travel from his compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where he has been under house arrest for the past two months.
Ben-Eliezer, who made the suggestion during consultations with Sharon and the heads of the security services and the Israeli army, said that Arafat should be allowed to travel as he had met Israel's demand to detain the suspects in the assassination of cabinet minister Rehavam Ze'evi, shot dead in a Jerusalem hotel last October by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
The defense minister also pointed out that Arafat had arrested the PFLP leader, Ahmed Sa'adat, as well as the man behind the purchase of the Karine A weapons ship, Fuad Shobaki. He said that there was no excuse for Israel to be pedantic about Arafat.
However, Sharon objected to this proposal, saying that Arafat had not met all of the Israeli demands in this regard. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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