Top Palestinian Official, Diplomats Come under Israeli Fire in Gaza Strip

Published December 21st, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

A top Palestinian official and foreign diplomats came under Israeli machine gunfire during a visit to a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip Thursday but no one was hurt, the official said. 

Palestinian international cooperation minister Nabil Shaath told AFP that he and a convoy of international diplomatic representatives to the Palestinian Authority were shot at while visiting the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip. 

"The Israeli army fired intensively today towards a delegation of Arab and foreign diplomats during a tour of Khan Yunis to show them the damage that Israeli shelling has caused to homes there," Shaath said. 

The Israeli army said its soldiers were responding to Palestinian gunfire and had no idea that a delegation of diplomats was in the area. 

Shaath said the diplomats, including the Jordanian representative and the French consul, were shot at with heavy machine guns from an Israeli checkpoint near the Gush Katif Jewish settlement bloc near Khan Yunis. 

"They saw with their own eyes the Israeli terrorism," Shaath said, adding that the Israeli soldiers could see the convoy and that the army had been informed of the visit to the camp, which is under Palestinian control. 

A diplomatic convoy that included UN human rights chief Mary Robinson came under Israeli gunfire in November while traveling near a Jewish settlement in the divided West Bank city of Hebron. The Israeli army said the source of the fire was from Palestinian areas -- GAZA CITY (AFP) 



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