Israel has assassinated Iyad Hardan, a military leader of the Islamic Jihad movement in the West Bank city of Jenin, said reports.
The murder was carried out when a booby-trapped public phone box was detonated via remote control while Hardan, 30, was using it, said Al-Jazzera satellite channel’s correspondent.
The Islamic Jihad has vowed to respond to Hardan’s killing, saying “it will not stay silent about these Israeli crimes against our people" a Jihad official, who asked not to be named, told AFP in Gaza City
Earlier this week, Israeli helicopters rained down three rockets on a car driven by Mohammad Abdul Al, a top Jihad leader, burning him to a crisp.
In the same context, Israeli forces tried Thursday morning to liquidate members of a Palestinian delegation taking part in security talks with Israeli officials.
CLASHES FLARE IN GAZA, ISRAELI TROOPS KILL PALESTINIAN YOUTH, INJURE FIVE
Clashes flared on Thursday between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip, where a 15-year-old boy was killed and five were injured.
The violent confrontation followed failed political and security talks between Israeli and Palestinians.
According to AFP, Ahmad Al Assar was shot in the chest with a live bullet near the Jewish settlement of Netzarim.
AFP reported earlier that five Palestinian youths were wounded by Israeli army gunfire in clashes between the army and dozens of stonethrowers in the northern Gaza Strip.
One of the wounded was seriously hurt in the leg during the clash at the Erez crossing with Israel.
In the West Bank, Palestinian gunmen have reportedly opened fire on a bus carrying Jewish settlers near Nablus, reported The Jerusalem Post newspaper, citing Israel Radio.
There were no injuries in the shooting attack, said the paper, adding that the bus sustained some damage from the gunfire.
In another development, the Post reported that a special unit of the Israeli border police arrested two Palestinians in a village near Nablus Wednesday night.
Rinal Tawfik Darlas, a member of the Fateh movement, and Thabet Mohammed Hijya, a member of the Palestinian Authority sea-borne forces were arrested in the village of Burka.
Security sources said the “two are suspected of taking part in security offences against Israel.”
Earlier in the day, Israeli Shin Bet security services announced the arrest of Yazid Hamed, a major at the Palestinian Authority intelligence services in the West Bank, for allegedly “killing Israelis in the West Bank in the past few months,” reported Haaretz newspaper, quoting Israel Radio on Thursday.
Hamed was arrested on the Allenby Bridge, coming from Amman for medical treatment.
Several day ago, the Shin Bet also arrested the commander of the Palestinian naval force in the West Bank.
Both officials, according to Haaretz, are members of a cell headed by senior members of the intelligence service and Force 17.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo told Voice of Palestine that "nothing was achieved in a meeting between Palestinian minister Nabil Shaath and Saeb Erekat with Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres in Athens."
Abed Rabbo said a distinction must be made between Peres's intentions and the mandate he has from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
The minister, said Haaretz, criticized Peres, saying that the foreign minister speaks the language of power when he is in the Middle East, but in Europe, he speaks the language of diplomacy.
Israeli sources told Haaretz that the meeting was "long, deep and important dialogue."
They added that it [the meeting] was intended merely as an opportunity to exchange initial positions and not to negotiate.
In the meeting, Peres spoke of the need to end the violence before peace talks could start again, echoing Sharon's pledge not to negotiate "under fire."
NOTHING ACHIEVED AT ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN SECURITY MEETING
Not only was the Tel Aviv security meeting followed by a shootout in which three bodyguards of the Palestinian officials were injured, but was also a complete failure.
Head of Gaza's Preventive Security Mohammed Dahlan said the meeting was difficult and that no agreements were achieved.
He said the Palestinians demanded that Israel remove its restrictions on the Palestinians, withdraw tanks from around West Bank cities and stop the practice of targeted killing of Palestinian activists, according to Haaretz.
Israel Radio quoted an Israeli official saying that the two sides had only reached a general conclusion to make efforts to reduce the violence and that they would meet again next week.
Danny Naveh, an Israeli cabinet minister without portfolio, said that instant results could not be expected, but that the very fact that the meeting took place was a "positive step."
As the Palestinian delegation was heading back to Gaza early Thursday, it came under Israeli fire.
The Palestinians said that Israeli soldiers opened fire on them, injuring three bodyguards of Dahlan, his West Bank counterpart Jibril Rjoub, intelligence chief Amin Hindi and police commander Abdel Razek Majaideh, said Haaretz newspaper.
Dahlan was quoted by reports later as charging that the Israeli forces had set up an ambush. The same statement was given by Hindi earlier. The Israeli side claims that the Palestinians were the first to open fire.
"It was a deliberate attack after our meeting in the Tel Aviv region with an Israeli delegation," Dahlan told journalists after the incident near Erez, the main crossing point between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Among those taking part in the talks from the Israeli side the head of Israel's internal security service Avi Dichter as well as the commanders of the center and south military regions, Generals Yitzhak Eytan and Doron Almog. American representatives were also present - Albawaba.com
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