Southern Gaza Strip bombed; Israel says it captured Palestinian would-be suicide bomber on way to Afula

Published July 14th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

Israeli warplanes and helicopters bombed a building in the southern Gaza Strip Sunday, Palestinian witnesses and security sources said.  


The target was the former home of a Hamas activist killed during an attempted attack on a Gaza settlement several months ago. Ahmed Abdel Wahab lived in the three-floor building in Qarara, near the town of Khan Yunis, until he was killed five months ago. His uncle, who also lived in the house, is a Hamas activist wanted by Israel.  


At least ten people were wounded by flying debris, hospital workers and witnesses said. The building was destroyed in the attack. Residents said the building was empty at the time of the attack.  


Earlier, Israeli troops captured a Palestinian would-be suicide bomber after he opened fire at a military patrol conducting searches in the area between West Bank village of Anin and the Israeli Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, the army said.  


"The terrorist fired at army jeeps outside Anin village but the soldiers subdued and interrogated him," an army spokeswoman said Sunday. "He led them to a bomb-belt he had hidden close by and we believe, was planning to detonate later in Israel."  


The incident late Saturday night put central Israel in a high state of alert. Israel Radio reported that the Palestinian planned to carry out the attack in Afula, but had been stuck in Umm al-Fahm because no one in the town was willing to transport him to his desired destination. 


He said he had been given NIS 600 (about US$120) by Islamic Jihad activists and told to enter Afula, where he was to begin shooting in a populated area and then detonate the explosives, the radio said. The man also reportedly told security forces that his family had been promised another 1,000 Jordanian dinar (approximately US$1,300) if he carried out the attack. 


In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians fired five mortar bombs at a Jewish settlement, hurting no-one, the army said. An Israeli armored column later scoured the nearby Palestinian town of Deir al-Balah. ( 

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