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8 Palestinians killed in IDF shelling of Hamas office in Nablus

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  • Ami Isseroff
    http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=58759&contrassID=1&subContrassID=1&sbSubC ontrassID=0 8 Palestinians killed in IDF shelling of Hamas
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 30, 2001
      8 Palestinians killed in IDF shelling of Hamas office in Nablus

      By Amos Harel and Aluf Benn, Ha'aretz Correspondents and Agencies

      [31-7-01] Eight Palestinians - including two senior Hamas member, as well as two children - were
      killed Tuesday afternoon when an IDF helicopter fired three missiles at the office of the Hamas
      movement in the West Bank town of Nablus.

      Israel took responsibility for the attack. Israeli sources said that the Hamas members killed were
      planning attacks in the Jerusalem area. The government expressed regret for the death of the two

      Israel's Channel Two reported that the U.S. issued a strong condemnation of the attack saying that
      it would further escalate the situation.

      The two senior Hamas activists killed were Jamal Mansour and Jamal Salim. The two children killed
      were brothers - Ashraf and Bilal Khader, ages 5 and 8. One of Mansour's bodyguards was also killed
      in the attack. Palestinian sources said 15 people were injured in the attack and that three of the
      injured were in serious condition. The office was located in a seven-storey building.

      Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, spiritual leader of Hamas, said Tuesday that Israel will pay a heavy price for
      the attack in Nablus. "The Hamas military arm will decide on the reaction, but it will make the
      Israelis understand that they have to pay for the blood shed, they have violated all the red lines,"
      Yassin told reporters in Gaza.

      "The [Hamas] political leadership has freed the hand of the brigades to do whatever they want
      against the brothers of monkeys and pigs," a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, Abdel-Aziz
      al-Rantissi, told Reuters, referring to the group's military wing Iz a-Din al-Kassam.

      "I urge all the brigades to chase and target the Israeli political leaders and members of
      parliament, the killer [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon and the criminal [Foreign Minister] Shimon
      Peres," Rantissi said.

      This was the first public call by Hamas to target Israeli leaders. Hamas's political wing determines
      overall policy for the movement, but it is left to the military wing to decide at the tactical level
      how and when to carry that policy out.

      Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat urged world leaders to send international monitors to the region.
      "This is a very dangerous conspiracy to liquidate our cadets." Arafat told Reuters at Amman civilian
      airport after talks with King Abdullah during a brief visit to Jordan.

      "I refer the steps (that should be taken) to the Arab and Islamic nations and to the G8 summit to
      implement its resolution as soon as possible and send international observers," he said.

      Following the attack, the Intifada leadership in coordination with the Palestinian Authority
      declared a two-day strike in the territories to commemorate "the massacre Israel carried out in
      Nablus." Demonstrations were held Tuesday in Ramallah, Nablus and Jenin.

      Ha'aretz reported Friday that since the June 1 bombing of the Tel Aviv Dolphinarium, in which 22
      people were killed, Mansour has been escorted by armed bodyguards for fear of assassination.

      According to Israeli security sources, the Hamas organization in Nablus has been responsible for
      about half of the suicide attacks carried out inside Israel.

      Last week, another senior Hamas activist in Nablus, Salah Darwazi, was killed by the IDF.
      Palestinian witnesses said that four rockets struck a red car driven by Darwazi, 37, near the Al-Ayn
      refugee camp close to Nablus.

      The IDF took responsibility for the attack. In a statement, it said Darwazi had been a prominent
      member of Hamas in Nablus and had helped plan a series of bombings in Israel since the Intifada
      erupted in late September last year.

      The IDF spokesman's office said Darwazi had recently taken on a central role in planning terrorist
      attacks. Darwazi also helped plan a huge attack within the Green Line that was not carried out,
      according to the same source.

      He was identified as one of the key people behind February's suicide bombing in the French Hill
      neighborhood of Jerusalem, and two suicide bombings in Netanya, in March and May of this year. Eight
      Israelis were killed in these attacks.

      The Palestinian Authority arrested and released Darwazi on a number of occasions between 1997-1999.

      Israel has assassinated a number of Islamic Jihad and Hamas activists in recent weeks. The majority
      of the operations have been carried out against members of their offices in the northern parts of
      the West Bank, around Nablus and Jenin.

      Earlier Tuesday, IDF troops killed Islamic Jihad member Hamouda al-Madhoun, 33, in a gun battle at
      the Karni crossing east of Gaza City on Tuesday. An official of the militant Islamic group confirmed
      Madhoun's death.

      Also Tuesday, an IDF undercover unit snatched Hamas activist Walid Khaled in the West Bank. Security
      sources said that Khaled, a resident of the village of Salfit in the Nablus area, was on their
      "wanted" list and that he was detained near the Tapuah Junction. Palestinian sources said Khaled was
      taken from his home.

      In Gaza, Muhammad al-Hassani, 23, a Palestinian policeman was killed by Israeli troops during
      clashes near the settlement of Netzarim.

      Israel Radio reported Tuesday that Palestinian militants had been issued with special safety
      recommendations as a result of Israel's policy of targeting leading militants. The recommendations
      included not accepting gifts and limiting contact with family and friends, and came a day after six
      members of Yasser Arafat's Fatah party were killed in a powerful explosion in a shack near the West
      Bank city of Nablus. The Palestinians blamed Israel for the explosion, but Israeli officials denied
      any involvement.

      Transport Minister Ephraim Sneh (Labor) said the fear gripping Palestinian militants was a sign of
      the effectiveness of the government's anti-terror measures. "These people are first and foremost
      concerned about their own personal safety," he told Israel Radio. "This is our aim - to put the
      other side on the defensive."
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