Israeli Army Kills Five Palestinian Activists -Other stories
- Sunday July 29 9:16 PM ET
Israeli Army Kills Five Palestinian Activists
(Reuters) By Atef Sa'ed
NABLUS, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli tank fire killed five
Palestinians on Israel's most wanted list in an attack on a
house in the West Bank on Monday, Palestinian officials
The Israeli army had no immediate comment on the incident,
described by an official from Palestinian President Yasser
Arafat (news - web sites)'s Fatah (news - web sites) faction,
to which the five belonged, as an assassination.
The bloodshed came hours after a day of violence at
Jerusalem's most sensitive holy site ended without loss of
life, with Israel and the Palestinians scoring their political
points and retiring from the arena.
Palestinian security officials said Israeli tank shells
slammed into a house in the West Bank village of Fara, near
the Jewish settlement of Alon Moreh and about 15 miles
from the Palestinian-ruled city of Jenin, killing the five men.
The officials identified them as Maher Jarabwe, 24,
Abdel-Rahman Ishtawe, 24, Hikmat Abu al-Hubal, 27,
Taie, 18, and Amin al-Malek, age unknown.
``It was an Israeli assassination,'' the Fatah official said
about the night-time attack.
All five were members of Fatah's al-Aqsa brigade, which has
been active in fighting during the 10-month-old Palestinian
uprising for independence, the officials said.
The Fatah official, who asked not to be identified, said
the men had been on Israel's most wanted list.
Palestinian officials say Israeli forces have killed more
than 40 Palestinian activists in ``assassination'' operations
since the start of the uprising.
Israeli leaders describe such killings as ``active defense''
against Palestinians who plan or carry out attacks on
Funerals for the five men were to held later on Monday,
gatherings likely to showcase Palestinian calls for revenge
unravel even more a threadbare U.S.-brokered cease-fire.
TEMPLE MOUNT FAITHFUL LIGHT SHORT FUSE IN HOLY
In Jerusalem on Sunday, plans by a radical Jewish group,
the Temple Mount Faithful, to lay a cornerstone for a Third
Jewish Temple at the Old City compound revered by Jews
Muslims, was the spark that lit an always short fuse in the
Palestinians on the mount, the Muslims' al-Haram al-Sharif
(Noble Sanctuary), rained stones down on Jewish
the adjacent Western Wall, a perimeter wall of the two
that stood at the site during biblical times.
Israeli police stormed the compound -- where the first
clashes of the Palestinian uprising began last September --
fired no live ammunition.
Witnesses said police used rubber-coated metal bullets,
stun grenades, teargas and clubs instead to push hundreds
protesters into al-Aqsa mosque. Thirty-five Palestinians and
policemen were hurt in the violence, which ended at
Under an agreement mediated by an Israeli Arab legislator,
police reinforcements left and the protesters went home.
In the context of the last 10 months of bloodletting, in which
more than 600 people, mainly Palestinians, have been
killed, restraint seemed to be the order of the day -- and
every side made its point. The Temple Mount Faithful got the
publicity it sought when television cameras captured the
4.5-ton cornerstone on a flatbed truck.
In reality, the mount was not on its delivery route.
Israel's High Court banned the ceremony there and police
notice they would not let the Faithful ascend. The group
gathered instead, with its stone, outside the Old City walls.
Palestinians, who accuse Israel of ``Judaising'' the Arab
eastern part of Jerusalem occupied in the 1967 Middle East
used rocks of their own to vent their anger and stake a claim
to the holy site and its al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock
Israeli police, by pouring reinforcements on to the mount
to beat back the crowd, showed that Israel would not give
Palestinians free rein at the mosque compound.
Summing up the day, Israeli opposition leader Yossi Sarid,
head of the left-wing Meretz party, said in exasperation:
``We are surrounded by crazy people from all sides.''
ISRAEL, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY TRADE BLAME
Muslim leaders had called on their faithful to come to the
shrine to protect the mosque compound with their bodies if
the cornerstone was brought in.
Palestinian leaders had warned of clashes similar to those
that erupted after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (news -
web sites) visited
the site last September when he was opposition leader.
Raanan Gissin, a Sharon aide, accused the Palestinian
leadership of deliberately fanning tensions in Jerusalem.
``There was no need and no reason for this kind of
violence...except for the fact that it was incited and
developed by the Palestinian Authority (news - web sites)
(news Web sites) as
another desperate means to try and create trouble and create
violence at this very, very holy site,'' Gissin told Reuters.
The Palestinian Authority, in a statement, said it held the
Israeli government responsible for the ``barbaric attack''' by
police on al-Haram al-Sharif.
It said international efforts had ``persuaded Israel to end
the police siege'' of al-Aqsa.
While the drama unfolded at the shrine, a car bomb blew up
in an underground car park in Pisgat Zeev, a Jewish
settlement which Israel regards as a neighborhood of
Jerusalem, police said.
The blast caused damage but no injuries. Police said only
some of the explosives in the car detonated.
At least 498 Palestinians, 130 Israelis and 13 Israeli
Arabs have been killed since the uprising flared after peace