Palestinians urge UN special session

The Palestinian government has called for a special session of the United Nations Security Council to be convened after Israel's assassination of Hamas spiritual leader Shaikh Ahmad Yasin.

    Palestinian leadership said Yasin's murder was a 'vile crime'

    During a meeting chaired by Palestinian President Yasir Arafat and attended by Prime Minister Ahmad Quraya, the government decided to call for "a special meeting of the Security Council to examine this vile crime and provide protection for our people," according to a statement.

    The government also called for a meeting of the Arab League's ministerial council to "examine the consequences of this crime and of the assassinations targeting Palestinian leaders".

    The wheelchair-bound Yasin, 67, was killed early on Monday in an Israeli air strike as he left a mosque after dawn prayers in the Sabra neighbourhood of Gaza city.

    Seven others were killed in the missile attack on Yasin, including his bodyguards and son-in-law. Seventeen people were wounded, among them two of Yasin's sons.

    Demonstrators killed  

    "(We call for) a special meeting of the Security Council to examine this vile crime and provide protection for our people"

    Palestinian government statement

    Elsewhere, three Palestinians were killed by Israeli occupation troops, including a 13-year-old boy, in demonstrations in support of the slain Hamas leader in the southern Gaza strip town of Khan Yunis.

    Hospital sources said Musaab al-Khalban was fatally hit in the head when troops opened fire from a watchtower in the nearby Israeli settlement of Ganei Tal.

    They said four other people were wounded during the demonstration.

    Throughout the West Bank, clashes between Palestinian stone-throwers and soldiers were reported.

    Journalist shot

    Several were injured in clashes
    with Israeli army during demos 

    In the Balata refugee camp, a Palestinian radio journalist was killed by the occupation forces, residents said.

    They said Muhammad Abu Khalimi, a 22-year-old reporter for al-Najah University radio, had just broadcast a report about the army entering the camp when he was shot. They said he was standing near a group of stone-throwing youths.

    In Nablus, the West Bank's largest city, nearly 15,000 people gathered to protest against the assassination. About 15 armed men, wearing masks and Hamas headbands, fired shots into the air.

    Demonstrations

    In Jenin, more than 10,000 people demonstrated. Several dozen armed men from al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a group loosely linked with Yasir Arafat's Fatah faction, joined the crowd. The resistance fighters held a mock coffin and fired shots into the air.

    Thousands protested throughout
    the West Bank at Yasin's murder

    In al-Khalil (Hebron), the Israeli occupation army imposed a curfew and fired tear gas at thousands of Palestinian residents who protested over the assassination of the Hamas leader. Residents said a 34-year-old man was fatally shot after throwing rocks. No further details were available.

    Near Bethlehem, the occupation army wounded two men who allegedly threw firebombs at them. Their conditions were not immediately known.

    Hizb Allah attacks

    On Israel's northern border, an army position on a mountainous area it occupies was hit by Hizb Allah, hours after the Lebanese-based movement vowed retaliation for Yasin's killing.

    Hizb Allah's Al Manar television reported that fighters attacked "the Zionist occupation positions in the occupied Lebanese Shabaa Farms". It gave no further details.

    "The martyrdom of Shaikh Yasin would lead to grave and serious consequences"

    Hasan Nasr Allah,
    Hizb Allah leader

    Aljazeera's correspondent in Beirut said Hizb Allah used guided missiles and artillery shells to attack the Ruwaisaat al-Alam post inside the occupied Lebanese Shabaa Farms.

    The Israeli air force responded by attacking the Lebanese village of Kafar Shuba, the correspondent said.

    There were no immediate reports of casualties.

    Middle East quartet

    Meanwhile, envoys of the United States, United Nations, Russia and the European Union, which make up a diplomatic quartet for Middle East peace efforts, began talks in Cairo.
     

    Egyptian FM Ahmad Mahir said 
    Israel was trying to reject peace

    Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Mahir told reporters earlier that he hoped the envoys would show their commitment to the road map peace plan and reject Israeli attempts to scupper the document, which the quartet drafted and made public last year.

    Israel's killing of Yasin was an "attempt to bury alive any real effort to achieve peace and create a Palestinian state," Mahir said after talks with his Jordanian counterpart, Marwan Muashar.

    A US embassy spokesperson said the meeting had been scheduled days before Yasin's assassination.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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