Palestinian sources and witnesses said Israeli soldiers patrolling the streets of Hebron's old town on Sunday killed Omar Mahmoud al-Ghafi Hoshiyeh, 200 metres from the Ibrahimi Mosque.

 

Palestinian witnesses told Aljazeera.net there was a verbal confrontation between the victim and one of the Israeli occupation soldiers, after which the soldier shot him seven times.

 

However, an Israeli army spokesman said Hoshiyeh tried to stab a soldier.

 

Relatives of Hoshiyeh at the nearby town of Yatta denied the Israeli account, saying he was a simple labourer without any political affiliations.

 

"He was planning to get married this summer, I don't believe Israeli claims. You know, they lie in such circumstances," said Fatimah Hoshiyeh, a relative.

 

Gaza explosions

 

Aljazeera's correspondent in Gaza reported on Sunday that two activists of Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades were killed and several wounded in a mysterious explosion east of al-Shujaayah district in the Gaza Strip.

 

The blast was caused by an explosive device.

 

Another Palestinian activist from Hamas's al-Qassam Brigades was killed when a bomb he was preparing, exploded in the southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis, the correspondent added.

 

Settler crimes
 

At least two other Palestinians, both teenagers, were shot and killed earlier this year at the same spot where Hoshiyeh was killed on Sunday morning.

 

Some Palestinians accused the Israeli army of deploying settler soldiers in Hebron who murder Palestinians for ideological reasons.

 

The claim seems to contain at least some truth.

 

In a television documentary due to be broadcast on Israeli Television, Channel 2 this Tuesday, a soldier in uniform appears on the camera telling the documentary presenter, Haim Yavin, a news anchorman for more than 30 years, that Hebron settlers were constantly urging him to kill Palestinian children.

 

Another killing in Jenin

 

Earlier, the Israeli occupation army shot and killed a Palestinian youth at the town of Araba, just south of the city of Jenin.

 

Palestinian sources said Israeli soldiers opened fire on a civilian vehicle outside the town, killing one man and injuring two others.

 

"The soldiers beat me and threatened to shoot me. I told them I had a critically ill person with me who needed to go to hospital. The soldiers told me, 'let him die!'"

Taxi driver

The Israeli army said shots were fired from the car toward a nearby Israeli army camp.

 

A third Palestinian died on Saturday at an Israeli army roadblock near the village of Amatin in the northern West Bank after Israeli soldiers denied him access to medical treatment at a nearby hospital.

 

The man, identified as Azzam Attiyeh Suwwan, 56, reportedly succumbed to his critical illness after he was kept waiting for a very long time by occupation forces at the Israeli roadblock.

'Let him die'
 

"The soldiers beat me and threatened to shoot me. I told them I had a critically ill person with me who needed to go to hospital. The soldiers told me: 'Let him die!'," said the taxi driver who carried Suwwan.

 

The driver said the soldiers allowed an ambulance to reach the roadblock after they made sure the man was dead.

 

Meanwhile, the Israeli government was due to approve the release of about 400 Palestinian prisoners.

 

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was quoted as saying that the release was meant to strengthen what he called "the moderate Palestinian leadership".


Pure propoganda

Palestinian cabinet minister Ghassan Khatib had described Sharon's announcement this week as pure propaganda given that Israel had already pledged to release the inmates.


Dozens of Palestinians also protested in the streets of Hebron on Saturday, carrying banners saying "The prisoners are our honour," "Free the prisoners," and "400 freed prisoners is not enough".

 

Israeli sources said most of the prisoners to be released were imprisoned on political charges and that many of them were 

People in Hebron demonstrated
for more prisoners to be freed

"administrative detainees," meaning they were incarcerated indefinitely without charge or trial.

 

There are as many as 8500 Palestinian political and resistance prisoners in Israeli jails and detention camps, at least 1200 of them are administrative detainees.

 

Israel views all Palestinians opposed to its occupation as "terrorists".

 

However, Israeli soldiers and settlers who murder Palestinians are usually given symbolic or light prison sentences not exceeding a few months or weeks by Israeli courts.