Israelis kill farmer in West Bank

A Palestinian has been killed by an Israeli unit that moved in to the town of Kabatiyeh in the north of the West Bank.

    Tens of thousands of Palestinians attended Thursday's funerals

    Palestinian security sources said farmer Ahmed Nazal, 28, was shot dead early on Friday morning as he went to work in his fields. 

    Earlier, a Palestinian child was killed by Israeli army fire in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on Thursday night, Palestinian and Israeli sources said. 

    Another Palestinian child, aged 11, wounded by army fire in Rafah.

    His family said he was 12 years old and had gone out to play with relatives when soldiers opened fire.

    An Israeli military spokesman said the boys were among a group of children sent by fighters to lead occupation soldiers into an ambush.

    The claim could not be confirmed.

    Israeli forces stormed the refugee camp on the border with Egypt claiming to be searching out tunnels used for smuggling explosives.

    Also on Thursday a wanted member of the Hamas movement was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in the Ram Allah region of the West Bank, according to sources on both sides.

    Samih Arar, 24, who had been sought by Israeli forces since the beginning of the Intifada, was gunned down by Israeli soldiers in a raid on the village of Qarawat Bani Zaid, Palestinian security and medical sources said.

    An Israeli military source told AFP that occupation soldiers had gone to arrest the 24-year-old in the village to the west of Ram Allah but began firing at him when he tried to flee.

    In retaliation for the ongoing raids and killings, the Palestinian resistance group Hamas fired a rocket at the Israeli town of Sderot, just outside Gaza, causing no casualties or damage.

    The Israeli military said fighters had launched nine homemade rockets in two days.

    Hamas has vowed to carry out revenge attacks for the killing of 15 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, including six of its members.

    Tens of thousands of Palestinians from various factions and policemen packed the streets of Gaza City on Thursday, marching slowly in the funeral procession for five of the dead.

    Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a Hamas leader, said Israelis would "weep blood rather than tears."

    Hamas said the rocket fire was just the beginning, issuing appeals to all of its cells in the West Bank and Gaza to attack Israelis.

    Similar threats in the past have been followed within
    hours or days by human bombings in Israel. In more than three years of fighting, 455 people have died in human bombings carried out by Hamas and other resistance factions.

    The latest deaths brought the overall toll since the September 2000 start of the intifada, or uprising, to 3,764 people killed, including 2,821 Palestinians and 875 Israelis.

    Pope speaks out

    Palestinian PM Ahmad Quraya
    meet the ailing pontiff

    As the violence raged Pope John Paul II said the situation in the Middle East called for "forgiveness not revenge, and bridges not walls," during a brief meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Quraya.

    The Pope, one of the most outspoken critics of Israel's controversial separation wall, had a meeting with Quraya lasting about 10 minutes at the Vatican on Thursday.

    "No one must yield to the temptation of discouragement, let alone to hatred or retaliation," John Paul II said.

    "It is reconciliation that the Holy Land needs: forgiveness not revenge, bridges not walls.

    "This demands that all leaders of the region follow, with the help of the international community, the path of dialogue and negotiation which leads to lasting peace," he said.

    Quraya is on a six-capital tour of Europe to garner opposition to the barrier which runs through Palestinian land. Israel says the barrier is necessary for the defence of its people against Palestinian resistance fighters.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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