Accessibility links

Israeli Jets Attack Palestinian Security Posts - 2001-08-26


An Israeli motorist has died in a drive-by-shooting inside Israel. The killing came hours after Israeli fighter jets destroyed police installations in Palestinian-ruled areas. The operation followed a day of violence Saturday that left five Israelis and four Palestinians dead.

The Israeli warplanes and tanks targeted Palestinian security posts in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, after one of the most violent days in nearly a year of Israeli-Palestinian clashes.

Vowing to respond to attacks on Israeli targets, Israel used F-15 and F-16 fighter jets. They destroyed Palestinian security headquarters in Rafah, Gaza City, and in a village near the West Bank city of Nablus.

In separate incidents, two Palestinians, one of them a policeman, were reported killed in gun battles that followed.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat toured the rubble after returning from a trip to Asia and vowed the Palestinians will continue their struggle. "The mountain cannot be shaken by the wind," he said.

After President Bush called for Mr. Arafat to stop the violence, Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi criticized the United States for backing the Israeli refusal to negotiate under fire.

"It has become clear that there is a policy and this policy is to rob the Palestinians of the protection of the law," Ms. Ashrawi said.

Palestinians had evacuated their headquarters in anticipation of the Israeli strike, following separate killings Saturday by Palestinian militants.

Although talk of cease-fire negotiations is apparently on hold, Israeli cabinet minister Ephraim Sneh called for dialogue and a meeting between Mr. Arafat and Israel's Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. "No political achievement will be attained for Arafat through this method of violence and terror and he has to know it," he said.

Mr. Sneh was speaking after one of the bloodiest days for Israel since the fighting began last September.

Before dawn on Saturday, Palestinian gunmen infiltrated an Israeli military base near a Jewish settlement in southern Gaza, killing three Israeli soldiers, including a major.

The militants charged the Israeli post, firing up to forty bullets and hurling hand grenades.

The gunmen, members of the Marxist Democratic front for the Liberation of Palestine, were also killed. Israeli expert on Palestinian affairs, Danny Rubinstein says the infiltration marks a new stage in the conflict.

"It means more radicalization among the Palestinians," Mr. Rubinstein said. " More radicalization means, in this sense, that they are becoming more religious and they were ready to sacrifice more, which means ready to die, to commit suicide."

Israel has opened an investigation in what is seen by some as a case of the army being caught unprepared. One general called the ambush a "daring raid."

An Israeli motorist was killed in a drive-by-shooting by a Palestinian sniper inside Israel, near the border of the West Bank town of Tulkarem.

Meanwhile, Israelis and Palestinians spent the day burying their dead, adding to the death toll of nearly 750 people.

XS
SM
MD
LG