Israeli, Palestinian killed in shootings

An Israeli civilian and a Palestinian teenager have been shot dead in the Palestinian territories, the Israeli army and medical sources on both sides say.

    The attack was near Baka al-Sharqiya, 10km north of Tulkarim

    In the northern West Bank, an Israeli man was killed and a teenager injured when Palestinian fighters ambushed their car, the army and medics said.


    "Palestinian gunmen carried out a shooting attack against a civilian vehicle southwest of Jenin, killing one Israeli civilian and wounding another," an Israeli military source said on Monday.


    He said the armed men had apparently opened fire from a vehicle as the Israeli car was near Baka al-Sharqiya, 10km north of Tulkarim in the northern West Bank, before fleeing.


    Medical sources said the second Israeli was lightly injured, suffering from shrapnel wounds.  


    Army radio said a 30-year-old man was killed and a 13-year-old boy wounded. 




    Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the shooting, saying it was in retaliation for the alleged desecration of the Quran at a prison in Israel and Israel's continued pursuit of the group's members.


    Islamic Jihad claimed
    responsibility for the attack

    Khadr Adnan, an Islamic Jihad spokesman in the West Bank, said the attack did not signal the end of the group's ceasefire with Israel. "We are still committed to calm," he said.


    Israeli occupation forces deployed reinforcements in the area and launched a search operation, Aljazeera's correspondent in the Palestinian territories Ali al-Sumodi reported.


    Israeli occupation forces imposed a curfew on Baka, following the operation, al-Sumodi said.


    Medical sources said the second Israeli was lightly wounded, suffering from shrapnel wounds.


    Teenager killed 


    Several hours later, Israeli troops shot dead an unarmed Palestinian teenager in northern Gaza near the border fence with Israel, Palestinian medics and witnesses said.


    Ihab al-Nabahin, 17, was killed near Wadi Gaza village, southwest of Gaza City, while a second teenager who was with him also sustained gunshot wounds. It was not immediately clear how badly he was injured.


    Mahmoud Abbas wants the
    withdrawal to go peacefully 

    Witnesses said the two were apparently trying to cross the fence to search for work in Israel.


    An Israeli military source confirmed troops had opened fire at two Palestinians spotted in an off-limits area.


    "There were two Palestinians in a forbidden closed area. The soldiers warned them to stop several times. So they were shot in the legs and they managed to run away," the source said.


    Palestinian fire


    Earlier on Monday, Palestinians fired three mortar shells that hit two Jewish settlements in Gaza.


    No injuries were reported.


    Israel is afraid that fighters, wanting to claim they have driven Israel out of Gaza, will step up attacks during the mid-August pullout.


    It has threatened harsh retaliation if settlers or troops are attacked.


    Woman arrested


    Israeli soldiers apprehended a Palestinian woman on Monday as she tried to enter Israel through Gaza's Erez border crossing with explosives packed into an undergarment, the army said.


    The woman, a burn victim, had permission to travel to the southern Israeli city of Beersheba for medical treatment, a day before a planned summit in Jerusalem between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.


    "She was a suicide bomber, a young, scarred woman ... who had undergone treatment in (Israel) in the past," Colonel Avy Levy, head of Israel's northern Gaza brigade, told Israel Radio.


    "Terrorist groups wanted to take advantage of her condition and use her to carry out an attack in Israel," he said. "She thought because she was ill, we wouldn't check her."


    A Palestinian woman was
    detained at the Erez crossing

    Under her clothing, the woman wore "knee-high pants rigged with approximately 10 kilos (22 lb) of explosives", the army said in a statement.


    Israeli media reports said the woman had been ordered by al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades to blow herself up in Soroka hospital in the southern city of Beersheba.


    The army could not confirm the reported target. The brigades, part of the mainstream Fatah faction, declined to comment.


    Speaking to Israel TV on Sunday night, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he was committed to preserving the calm during the withdrawal.


    "We will do all that we can to ensure that the disengagement is carried out quietly," he said.


    Limited resources


    Abbas said the Palestinians had already thwarted dozens of attacks with Israeli cooperation. But he said his forces could not control everything because of limited resources.


    Foreign Minister al-Qidwa has
    condemned recent attacks

    Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser al-Qidwa also condemned the violence, saying violations by either side "do not serve the Palestinian interest".


    "We assert our commitment to the truce, and we hope that the most recent events will not affect the meeting between Abbas and Sharon," al-Qidwa said on Monday.

    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
    proposed the Gaza pullout early last year as a unilateral act meant to improve security.


    Since reaching a ceasefire deal with Abbas in February, Sharon has said he would be willing to coordinate the pullout with the Palestinians.


    Coordination is expected to figure prominently on Tuesday in the first meeting between the two leaders since they declared the February truce.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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