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Clashes Continue in Middle East - 2002-10-09


Israeli soldiers imposed a curfew in the west bank city of Hebron late Tuesday after Palestinian gunmen wounded four Israelis – one of them critically – in an ambush near Hebron earlier in the day. The gunmen opened fire on a car with Israeli license plates in broad daylight. The shooting came just a day after Palestinian militant groups vowed revenge for the Israeli raid Monday on the Gaza strip town of Khan Younis. The death toll in that attack climbed to 16 when two more Palestinians died Tuesday. Despite the mostly negative reaction internationally, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon praised the attack and promised more of its kind.

ARIEL SHARON, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER
“I think that the operation was a success. I think that we have to take into consideration that the Israeli forces are making every effort to contain raids and attacks by terrorist organizations.”

Mr. Sharon also said most of those killed were terrorists, but he expressed his sorrow for the civilian casualties of the Monday raid. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat convened his cabinet Tuesday to discuss the attack, in which the Palestinians say the casualties were mostly civilians. Cabinet Minister Saeb Erakat said he is afraid Mr. Sharon is destroying the peace process as well as the Palestinian Authority.

SAEB EREKAT, PALESTINIAN CABINET MINISTER
“What happened in Khan Younis yesterday, the massacre that was committed, is part of Sharon’s preparation to fully reoccupy the Gaza Strip as he did in the West Bank.”

Later Tuesday, the families of both Israeli and Palestinian victims of the ongoing violence traveled to Ramallah to meet with Mr. Arafat. Itzhak Frankenthal was a member of that delegation.

ITZHAK FRANKENTHAL, DELEGATION MEMBER
“The message is that every one of us, the Israelis and Palestinians, we are human beings and we need to do everything to make reconciliation between both sides and to force the leaders to sit together and to stop the hatred and to stop the bloodshed. Let’s sit and talk and find a peace solution.”

Earlier, the group donated blood at hospitals in Jerusalem and Ramallah.

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