PA funeral demonstrations / PA death sentences
- New York Times
August 01, 2001
Violence, Mourning Follow Israeli Missile Attack
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 7:01 a.m. ET
NABLUS, West Bank (AP) -- Thousands of mourners, some firing guns into the
air, poured into the streets of Nablus in a funeral procession Wednesday for
eight Palestinians killed in an Israeli helicopter raid.
The crowd surrounded the bodies as they were removed from the Nablus
hospital and carried through the streets on stretchers, covered with
Palestinian flags. Women and children screamed and cried. Many waved green
flags of the radical Palestinian group Hamas, whose offices were the target
of Tuesday's assault.
``We will not stop our uprising,'' Anan al-Atiri, spokeswoman for the Fatah
movement of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, said at the funeral. ``I think
the coming days will be worse than before.''
No official crowd figures were available, but unofficial estimates put the
number at anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000.
Palestinians began launching attacks against Israeli targets hours after the
helicopter raid, and the clashes carried on through the night and into
A small pipe exploded Wednesday in a park next to the King David Hotel, one
of Jerusalem's best known and most luxurious hotels. Police said the blast
caused no injuries or damage, but it added to the jittery atmosphere in
Jerusalem, where Israeli security forces are on high alert.
Palestinians threw rocks and firebombs at Israeli soldiers in the West Bank
city of Hebron, and the troops responded with rubber bullets.
Palestinians also opened fire Tuesday night on Gilo, a Jewish neighborhood
in a disputed part of southern Jerusalem were clashes have erupted
frequently. The Israelis fired tank shells and machine guns in a shootout
that lasted into the early hours of Wednesday. One Palestinian was wounded,
and a Palestinian home was destroyed.
Also, five Israelis were injured, one seriously, when Palestinians fired at
two cars in the West Bank on Tuesday night.
In Gaza, Palestinians fired at least 15 mortar shells at Jewish settlements
and army posts and exchanged fire with Israeli forces, the military said. No
one was hurt.
Israeli security forces warned that Palestinian militants were likely to
attempt a major attack, while government officials defended the Nablus
assault, which killed six people in the third-floor Hamas office, including
a senior leader. Two brothers, ages 5 and 8, were killed by shrapnel on the
street below the offices.
``If we didn't stop them, the attacks that they would carry out in Israel
would harm children and women,'' Uri Shani, the director of Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon's office, told army radio. ``Our job is to prevent
Israeli officials said the main target of the operation was Jamal Mansour,
42, a top leader of Hamas, a militant Islamic group opposed to any peace
negotiations with Israel.
Israel charged that Mansour was part of the Hamas leadership behind 10 bomb
attacks since November, including a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv June 1 that
killed 23 people, most of them Israeli teen-agers, and was planning more.
Palestinians said he was a political figure. Two local Hamas leaders, Jamal
Salim, 41, and Fahim Dawabshe, 32, were also killed.
The Israeli strike brought international reproach.
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Charles F. Hunter said, ``We
continue to strongly oppose the Israeli policy of targeted attacks.''
U.N. Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen said ``such actions are almost
guaranteed to lead to a further escalation of tension,'' a statement said.
A total of 10 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces Tuesday, the
deadliest single day in the Mideast conflict since a U.S.-brokered
cease-fire was declared in June.
The cease-fire has never taken hold, and Hussein al-Sheik, a leader of
Arafat's Fatah movement in the West Bank, told Israel radio that the truce
In another development, a Palestinian security court in Nablus sentenced
three Palestinians to death for helping Israel kill Palestinian activist
Thabet Thabet last December. Another man was sentenced late Tuesday to 15
years in prison and a fifth was released. Arafat must approve the death
sentences before they can be carried out.
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