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Palestinian killed in Gaza; teen found with bomb belt (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Amos Harel 02/04/05)Source: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/536029.html HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Two Israel Defense Forces soldiers were lightly wounded and an armed Palestinian was killed in an attack yesterday at the Gush Katif junction in the Gaza Strip.

Military sources reported that a Palestinian taxi arrived at the junction on the road linking Khan Yunis to the north of the Strip. The taxi stopped in the middle of the road with an apparent technical problem and soldiers on the scene ordered the vehicle removed so traffic would not be blocked. When the occupants of the car got out, one opened fire on the soldiers, throwing a grenade at them too.

The commander of the Givati brigade company at the junction returned fire and killed the armed Palestinian. The injured soldiers were taken for treatment to Soroka Medical Center in Be´er Sheva.

Elsewhere, soldiers prevented a suicide attack when they arrested a 16-year-old Palestinian youth in possession of an explosives belt in a bag at the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus.

The youth, Mahmoud al-Tabuq, is the nephew of Ahmed al-Tabuq, a senior member of Fatah´s military wing in Nablus during the first intifada.

Following his arrest, al-Tabuq told his interrogators that he had been sent by a resident of the city to hand over the bag to another individual who was waiting at the checkpoint.

Military sources believe Fatah´s Al-Aqsa Martyrs´ Brigades was behind the attempted terror attack, but Nasser Juma´a, a senior member of the Brigades, told Haaretz that the organization had nothing to do with it.

In Jerusalem meanwhile, security forces were placed on high alert and checkpoints were set up in and around the capital yesterday afternoon. The high alert was eased later in the evening. Military sources rejected any link between the security alert in the capital and the incident at the checkpoint near Nablus.

IDF sources believe that Hezbollah was behind the attempted terror attacks, noting that the Lebanon-based organization is transferring funds and instructions to activists in the territories, primarily to independent Fatah cells. Hezbollah is seeking to derail the political progress between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the sources believe.

Also in Nablus yesterday, security forces arrested a wanted man from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The man is suspected of planning a terror attack to be carried out over the coming days.

In other incidents yesterday, an IDF force found a 40-kilogram explosive device south of the Sufa crossing on the Green Line; and an IDF patrol came under fire in Rafah.

Military sources expressed a touch of disappointment yesterday about the functioning of the Palestinian security forces in recent days. The sources say the Palestinians are making do with superficial and demonstrative steps and are not making concerted efforts against the terror cells.

The sources see the deployment of thousands of Palestinian police in conflict areas as a demonstration of presence that is helping to reduce the activities of the cells, but note that without a more determined and aggressive effort on the part of the PA, the terror is likely to rear its head anew, and with more vigor, in the near future. (© Copyright 2005 Haaretz. 02/04/05)


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