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Israel Targets Palestinian West Bank Checkpoint - 2001-09-10


Israel's army fired anti-tank missiles at a Palestinian police checkpoint near the West Bank village of Tamun early Monday morning, killing one police officer and wounding several others. The attack follows a day of violence that left at least seven Israelis dead and dozens more injured.

The early-morning strike was in reprisal for three Palestinian attacks on Sunday, including two suicide bombings.

In a worrisome development for Israeli security officials, one of the suicide bombers was tentatively identified as an Arab Israeli from a village in the north of the country.

A statement issued by Israel's government late Sunday said the identity card of Mohammad Sakher Habashi was found at the bomb scene in Nahariya on Sunday.

Security forces had been monitoring Mr. Habashi's recent movements. The government statement criticizes the Palestinian Authority for not responding to its recent demands that Mr. Habashi be located in the West Bank and sent back to Israel.

Israel's one million Arab citizens continually complain of discrimination and alienation, but until now, they have not been linked to terrorist attacks.

The violence on Sunday included two suicide bombings and a drive-by shooting attack against Israeli civilians and Israeli missile strikes against Palestinian security facilities in three different locations in the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority has condemned the terrorist attacks inside Israel and called for a return to peace talks as the only way to provide stability and security.

But it is not clear yet if a meeting will take place as expected between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. The talks were to focus on reaching a cease fire but the Palestinians want the discussions to deal with wider political issues too.

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