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Israel to Investigate Shooting Death of British UN Worker - 2002-11-23


Israel has given Britain assurances that it will investigate the shooting death of a British U.N. worker at the Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin on Friday.

Israel radio says Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to express regrets and to promise a full investigation of the shooting.

Ian Hook was shot in the abdomen during a gun battle between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen during an Israeli attempt to arrest a suspect in a suicide bombing last month that killed 14 Israelis.

It is not known which side fired the fatal shots, but the head of the Jenin hospital says the bullets retrieved from the body are the kind generally used by Israeli troops.

Mr. Hook was in a mobile home working on plans to evacuate the U.N. compound when he was shot.

Mr. Hook is the first U.N. worker to be killed during the two years of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

He arrived in Jenin just three weeks ago to oversee the project to rebuild the refugee camp which was heavily damaged during an Israeli incursion there last spring.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he is greatly disturbed by the incident.

Elsewhere, four Israeli sailors were wounded in an attack on their patrol boat in the Mediterranean Sea near the Gaza Strip.

A fishing boat packed with explosives was reported to have rammed the Israeli craft as it patrolled near Erez.

The attack comes as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered the Israeli military to hit back hard at those behind attacks on Israel.

Israeli security forces swept into Palestinian areas on Friday in retaliation for a suicide bombing in Jerusalem a day earlier that killed 12 including the bomber. With this latest incursion Israel is once again in control of every major Palestinian population center in the West Bank with the exception of Jericho.

The Bush administration is urging Israel to wrap up its military operations as quickly as possible.

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