Two Elderly Palestinians Slain in Reprisal Killings
JERUSALEM (AP) _ Masked gunmen shot and killed two elderly Palestinians in the occupied West Bank who were suspected of serving as informers for Israel and selling land to Israelis, Arab reporters said Saturday.
The gunmen stormed the homes of the victims - a man and a woman, both 70 - in the village of Hajja late Friday and shot them several times in the head, the reporters said. They identified the victims as Ahmed Yousef Shanaa and Sheika Mohammed Khalife.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian vigilante group calling itself the ″Blue Vultures″ claimed responsibility Saturday for hacking to death 22-year-old Saki Abu Amra in the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip Friday night.
Wall graffiti signed by the group - which has been linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a radical PLO faction - said Amra was killed because he sold drugs. Army officials confirmed the slaying.
The three deaths brought to 528 the number of Palestinians killed by fellow Arabs since the December 1987 uprising against the occupation. Most were suspected of helping Israel; others were killed by self-appointed vice squads.
The army imposed a curfew in Hajja after the shootings of the two elderly people, the Arab reporters said. An army spokeswoman confirmed that a curfew was imposed and said reports of the shootings were being investigated.
Israeli authorities took the bodies for an autopsy, the reporters said.
There were also reports Saturday of growing tension between followers of the Muslim fundamentalist Hamas group and its main rival, the PLO’s secular Fatah faction. Hamas staunchly opposes Palestinian participation in Middle East peace talks advocated by Fatah. With the talks bogged down, frustration is rising.
In the West Bank’s Tulkarem refugee camp, a Fatah follower shot and seriously wounded Fayez Abu Sarire, 23, a Hamas activist, over a political argument Saturday, Palestinian reporters said.
In the West Bank town of Nablus, Hamas and Fatah issued a rare joint leaflet saying they would investigate a clash in which Fatah activists seriously hurt a 16-year-old Hamas supporter in the Al Ein refugee camp Friday, Palestinian reporters said.
The youth, Bashir Ibrahim Barakat, was stoned and beaten, the reporters said.
The two factions were arguing over the refusal of some Fatah supporters to observe the daylight fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.