Tags: Israeli | Helicopters | Attack | Palestinians

Israeli Helicopters Attack Palestinians

Wednesday, 16 May 2001 12:00 AM

The attacks came even as both sides informed the United States that they accept the Mitchell Committee's recommendations on how to end the fighting and resume negotiations. The Palestinians said they wanted those recommendations implemented as a package, but Israel wants to negotiate the demand that it freeze its settlement activity.

The helicopters, hovering low over the main Gaza Strip road, shelled Palestinian Police posts in Jabaliya, injuring at least four people, one of them seriously, according to Palestinian accounts.

An Israeli Defense Force spokesman said the raid followed "many attacks and shooting incidents that were planned and originated there."

Later the helicopters appeared over Jenin in the northern West Bank. The IDF spokesman said they attacked a building that belongs to the Palestinian Authority unit that develops and produces armaments and mortar bombs. Palestinian sources said the helicopters fired 12 missiles at military and civilian places, but there were no immediate casualty reports.

The British Broadcasting Corp. reported that these helicopter attacks seemed to depart from previous policy in that they were the first not preceded by a specific provocative act by Palestinians.

A 15-year-old Palestinian boy was killed Wednesday morning during clashes at the Netsarim junction south of Gaza City, a source at the government Shiffa hospital in Gaza said. The source said the boy was hit by a live bullet and was dead on arrival.

The IDF spokesman said dozens of Palestinians rioted at the junction, stoned soldiers in a position that controls it, and the teenager came dangerously close to the position.

The soldiers fired warning shots in the air and then at his leg, the spokesman said.

In another incident, reported by the Palestinian General Security, an Israeli shell seriously injured a woman and her child at Rafah, near the Egyptian border.

A military source in the Southern Command said there was no shooting and no tanks were there at the time of the reported incident.

The IDF spokesman confirmed, however, that troops seized a Palestinian building north of the settlement of Kfar Darom in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian General Security said Israeli soldiers backed by tanks entered the Palestinian area near Dir el-Balah, and established a post on a roof of a dairy a few hundred meters (yards) inside their area.

The statement said that soldiers destroyed equipment, shot at workers who arrived there, and rejected demands that they leave.

According to the Israeli army's account, the soldiers seized the building in the wake of Tuesday night's mortar bomb attack on Kfar Darom. The bomb crashed into a settler's home and demolished a toilet seat.

The Israeli army said the attack created an "immediate security need to protect the residents."

Israeli bulldozers entered also areas near Beit Hanun, in the northern Gaza Strip. The Palestinians said the Israelis "bulldozed" the area.

The Israeli army said soldiers searched for explosives after they spotted suspicious people there Monday, fired warning shots, and the men fled. The search revealed an explosive charge that was neutralized causing neither damage nor injuries, the army spokesman added.

In what seemed to open a new front, a bomb exploded on a railway just after a passenger train carrying hundreds of people passed over it on its way from Haifa to Tel Aviv. The charge was small and caused minimal damage, but traffic was resumed only hours later after police verified there were no more bombs on the way.

Another bomb exploded near the new bus station in East Jerusalem. A man told police he found a bag, threw it away and it exploded, police reported.

Israeli youngsters then stoned Arabs in Israeli neighborhoods near the dividing line between east and west Jerusalem and attacked two Arab youngsters who required medical treatment, police said.

In the Mishor Adumim industrial zone, in the Jordan Valley, three Palestinians hurled a hand grenade into a store and fled. The grenade did not explode. A worker threw the grenade into the street then hitched a ride with a friend to look for the attackers. The man, Shimon Wazan, said he found the attackers at a laundry, pretended not to know they hurled the grenade, and talked to them until police came.

On Wednesday evening gunmen opened fire at a civilian bus just after it entered the West Bank, but the bus was armor plated and no one was injured, the army spokesman said. A bomb exploded also at the Gaza Strip's border fence near Kissufim when an Israeli army patrol passed there but caused neither damage nor injuries, the army spokesman reported.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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The attacks came even as both sides informed the United States that they accept the Mitchell Committee's recommendations on how to end the fighting and resume negotiations. The Palestinians said they wanted those recommendations implemented as a package, but Israel wants...
Wednesday, 16 May 2001 12:00 AM
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