Israel admits killing Palestinian policeman

A Palestinian police officer was shot dead by Israeli occupation forces in the north of Gaza late on Monday, according to Palestinian medical and security sources.

    Bait Hanun: Legally under Palestinian
    Authority control, but not in practice

    Nasser Abd Al-Qadr Bakr, a 47-year-old officer with the Palestinian national security forces, died instantly when Israeli soldiers shot him in the head.

    He had been stationed at a security post between Bait Lahiya and Bait Hanun, a largely agricultural area.
    Witnesses could not provide any explanation for the killing, but said the shooting was carried out by an undercover Israeli army patrol.
    Israeli military sources confirmed that the shooting took place in the same area late on Monday night, adding troops had also shot and wounded two other Palestinians.
    One Israeli spokesman, quoted by AFP, said that troops operating on the outskirts of Bait Hanun spotted about three or four Palestinians approaching Israeli troops “in an area which is off-limits to Palestinians”, and confirmed that two had been shot.  
    Bakr's death brought the number of people killed since the second uprising that began in September 2000 to 3,275--almost 80% of the dead have been Palestinian.
    Earlier, three teenagers were injured by Israeli gunfire in Bait Hanun after troops opened fire on stone throwers.
    At the same time, Israeli bulldozers operating in the town razed two Palestinian security outposts.  

    Palestinian prisoners

    Families of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, meanwhile, called for a US-Arab summit in Sharm el-Shaikh, Egypt, on Wednesday to deal with the issue of prisoners as part of the road map for peace.

    "The committee of families of prisoners sent a message to [Egypt's] President Husni Mubarak calling on him to raise the issue of prisoners at the Sharm el-Shaikh summit," said its spokesman, Khalid al-Khatib.

    The committee also sent a similar message to the US president, calling on him to “work seriously for the release of the prisoners, to close the file ... and give hope to our Palestinian people", Khatib said.

    Some Palestinians will wait months
    before their jailers get around to
    charging them

    Some 3,500 Palestinians are held in military jails, many of them without trial, and a similar number are held in other prisons and detention camps in the Palestinian territories, according to Reuters.
    Administrative detainees are held without trial or charge, sometimes without even being questioned or told why they are being held, for extendable periods of six months.

    Israeli response

    Israel had started releasing some Palestinian prisoners on Tuesday after the head of the army's central command, General Moshe Kaplinsky, signed a release order for 100 Palestinians held in military camps, a spokesman said. 
    The release, preceding the Sharm el-Shaikh summit, included 

    Tayseer Khalid who was jailed six months ago after being arrested in Nablus.

    Khalid is a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's Executive Committee and of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's political bureau. He spoke to Aljazeera’s correspondent.

    "If Sharon really wants to advance peace, he should repeat in Aqaba that the occupation must end," he added, making reference to a statement issued by Israeli President Ariel Sharon last week.
    Sharon later retracted his use of the word ‘occupation’.

    "Israel must halt its policies in the Palestinian territories and lift the siege imposed on Yasser Arafat," who has been pinned down in Ramallah since December 2001, Khalid added.


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