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Palestinian Gunmen Kill Arab-Israeli - 2001-08-07

Palestinian gunmen have shot and killed an Arab-Israeli man as he drove his car near a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

Israeli security officials are investigating the shooting to determine if the Palestinian attackers targeted the Arab Israeli man, or if they killed him by mistake, believing he was a Jewish settler.

The man was driving toward the Jewish settlement of Tzofin, near the West Bank town of Qalqilya, when his car was riddled with bullets by Palestinian gunmen hiding behind a greenhouse along the side of the road.

Palestinian militants have targeted Jewish settlers throughout the current conflict, and police say the assailants may have thought they were shooting a settler in Tuesday's attack. Palestinian security officials say the man was a collaborator who left the West Bank and moved to Israel, receiving Israeli citizenship.

In neighboring Jordan, an Israeli diamond trader living in Amman was shot and killed. Both Israeli and Jordanian officials say the motive for the killing is not clear. Two Arab groups claimed responsibility for the killing, but Jordanian security officials say criminals could be behind the attack.

Two Israeli diplomats were slightly injured in shooting incidents in Amman last year, forcing Israel to cut the number of staff at its embassy and to evacuate families.

Meanwhile, Palestinians have sent letters to President Bush and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, urging them to play a broader role in stopping the bloodshed.

An adviser to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said the United States should intervene in an effort to have both sides accept recommendations designed to end the violence made by an international commission led by former U.S. Senator George Mitchell. "We hope that the Americans and the Europeans and the world community will put enough pressure on the Israeli government to accept international observers and to accept the implementation of the Mitchell recommendations," Mr. Rudeineh said. "Because the situation is very dangerous and the situation is unbearable. The Israeli military escalation is continuing. The assassination of the Palestinian leaders is continuing. The Israeli government is pushing the whole situation into a real catastrophe."

Palestinian minister Ziyad Abu Ziyad is warning Israel will pay a price for its policy of targeted attacks against militants. He says the assassinations are leading to growing support for radical groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and making it more difficult for the Palestinian Authority to govern in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.