Israeli forces were operating in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip Wednesday morning, demolishing two abandoned structures believed to have served as Palestinian firing positions. According to Palestinian sources, one Palestinian was killed in the area and at least four injured when the Israeli army blew up a building.
Elsewhere, Palestinian sources said the Israeli army started an operation in the Balata refugee camp near Nablus early Wednesday.
The sources say that dozens of tanks surrounded the camp and that soldiers were conducting house to house searches.
Israeli special forces on Tuesday evening killed the brother of a Palestinian leader, Palestinian intelligence officers said.
The Israeli forces entered a house in the center of Ramallah and shot Mohammed Saadat, 22, brother of Ahmed Saadat, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the officers said, according to AP. Relatives and hospital officials confirmed that Mohammed Saadat had been killed.
According to the Israeli side, the soldiers tried to arrest Mohammed Saadat, but he opened fire, wounding two of the soldiers. The troops returned fire, killing him.
The PFLP vowed revenge. "Our response will be a deterrent and painful, and the Israelis know it. They experienced our response after the assassination of the secretary-general, Abu Ali Mustafa," Rabah Muhana, a senior PFLP leader in the Gaza Strip, told Reuters.
Ahmed Saadat has been under Palestinian detention since May 1, part of a deal that ended a 34-day Israeli siege of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah. Israel charged that Saadat planned the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi in a Jerusalem hotel on Oct. 17, retaliation for Israel's killing of Abu Ali Mustafa, Saadat's predecessor as head of the PFLP, on Aug. 27, 2001.
Meanwhile, Israel's Defense Minister, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said, after an Israeli soldier was killed in the Gaza Strip, that if the Palestinians do not stop the violence in Gaza, the army will.
"I told senior Palestinian officials about what happened (in Gaza) and said, 'If you don't take care of it, we will,'" Ben-Eliezer said. "If they want to live in peace, if they want to live in prosperity, if they want to open our gates to work in Israel...it is up to them."
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )