Tags: Four | Palestinians | Israeli | Girl | Killed | Clashes

Four Palestinians, Israeli Girl Killed in Clashes

Tuesday, 15 May 2001 12:00 AM

Hundreds of Palestinians rioted near the Erez Crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel, throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers, who responded with rifle fire, killing 20-year-old Muhammad Abu Jaafar, and tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through Palestinian cities Tuesday.

The protesters, including militants from southern Lebanon's Hezbollah group and Palestinian Hamas, chanted fiery rhetoric against Israel, warning that they would escalate their resistance operations. "With blood, with spirit, we will redeem the martyrs killed since 1948," said protesters waving Palestinian, Fatah and Hamas flags. At noon they observed three minutes of silence for their fallen.

"The enemy only understands the language of violence" and an "armed struggle" is the only way to recover the land, said the Hamas group, believed responsible for a Tuesday morning mortar attack on an Israeli army camp at Nahal Oz, inside Israel near the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli tank fired and killed one of the Hamas mortar attackers after they fired a second volley. A spokesman for the Palestinian security forces identified the man as Abdel Hakim al-Manama, a bodyguard for Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin.

As many as 287 Palestinians were reportedly injured in various clashes in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, according to Mohammad Ayyad, spokesman for the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.

A 22-year-old Israeli woman, Idit Mizrahi, who was traveling with her father and brother in the West Bank, northeast of Jerusalem, was shot and killed Tuesday evening. Police said they found 19 Kalachnikov rifle cartridges at the site. The Israeli army said it believed the attacker fled to autonomous Palestinian Ramallah. Mizrahi's 50-year-old father was injured in the shooting.

On Monday near Ramallah, five Palestinian policemen were killed - perhaps in error - by Israeli soldiers, Israel's military's chief of general staff suggested Tuesday.

Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz told the Israeli parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the soldiers were supposed to hit Palestinian gunmen who operate from the area and target Israel's Camp Ofer and civilians who use a new road nearby.

"This is not the outcome we anticipated," Mofaz told the committee members, according to two sources.

The attack is believed to have inflamed Tuesday's clashes and protests, as they marked the Nakba Day, or Day of Disaster, referring to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent mass exodus of Palestinian refugees.

The state of Israel was declared May 14, 1948, one day after Arab League nations had declared war on Jews in the region. Shortly after midnight May 14, five Arab countries invaded Israel, incursions that Israel repelled. During battles before and after the formal declaration of the state of Israel, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled their homes in fear, and have been refugees ever since.

In a speech he recorded before traveling to Egypt to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat condemned the Israeli attacks and asserted the Palestinians' right "to live in freedom, in their own independent Palestinian country, with holy Jerusalem as its capital."

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres replied to Arafat's statements saying the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Accords provide that differences be solved through negotiations, not an Intifada or terrorism.

"The goal of negotiations is to achieve a compromise and not to force a solution or capitulation," Peres added.

The Israeli-Palestinian negotiations fell through in September regarding the future of Jerusalem and the refugee issue. Israel says Jerusalem is its ancient, eternal capital, though former Prime Minister Ehud Barak was set to negotiate a partitioning of the city. Israel also opposes a return of millions of Palestinian refugees because Israelis would then become a minority there.

Following Arafat's address, demonstrators marched toward Israeli lines near Ramallah. An Israeli Defense Forces spokesman said some 1,000 people were at a junction north of the city where they threw stones. Explosive devices and firebombs were hurled at troops in Hebron, and 50 Molotov cocktails were hurled at soldiers near Kafr Kalil, the spokesman said. Shots were also fired into Bat Hefer inside Israel proper damaging several houses. No injuries were reported.

The Palestinian spokesman said 10 people were wounded near Kfar Darom and four at Netsarim, south of Gaza. The Shiffa hospital in Gaza said three of the four injured at Netsarim were in critical condition.

A Palestinian who tried to grab a soldier's gun at a roadblock near Migdalim in the West Bank was shot and injured, the army reported.

In other events Tuesday, the Israeli government laid the cornerstone for the first of several U.S.-funded military construction projects inside Israel proper, a supposed replacement for Israeli army facilities currently located in the West Bank.

The new project calls for building a training base for Israel's paratroopers at Shomriya, 20 kilometers north of Beer Sheba.

The U.S. Embassy said the base will include 40,000 square meters of new facilities at a cost of $ 266 million.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International. All rights reserved. --

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Hundreds of Palestinians rioted near the Erez Crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel, throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers, who responded with rifle fire, killing 20-year-old Muhammad Abu Jaafar, and tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through Palestinian cities...
Tuesday, 15 May 2001 12:00 AM
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