A senior Israeli officer has admitted that the army has been operating a "shoot to kill" policy against Palestinians it suspects of committing attacks against settlers or soldiers, public radio reported Thursday.
The officer, whose identity and rank were not disclosed, said the policy had "succeeded in thwarting terrorist attacks," the radio reported, adding that most operations were carried out by snipers.
The operations were aimed at activists from the fundamentalist anti-Israeli movements Hamas and Islamic Jihad and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fateh faction, as well as members of the Palestine security services suspected of involvement in attacks, the radio said.
Palestinians have accused Israel of "state terrorism" over the killings, with at least 10 militants eliminated in pinpoint attacks in recent weeks as the three-month wave of violence took on the shape of a guerrilla-style conflict.
A total of 348 people, mostly Palestinians, have been killed in the unrest that was triggered by a late-September visit to a hotly contested holy site in Jerusalem by Israel's hardline opposition leader Ariel Sharon -- JERUSALEM (AFP)
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