Israeli Soldier Killed; Positions Harden On Both Sides Over Violence With PM-PLO-Israel
NAHAL OZ, Occupied Gaza Strip (AP) _ A Palestinian stabbed to death an Israeli soldier today as troop reinforcements were moved into the occupied territories to contain the growing violence.
Twenty-four Palestinians and nine Israelis have been killed since the Israel-PLO accord was signed Sept. 13, and the latest flareup is threatening to erode support for the peace talks.
The escalation comes at a time when Israeli and Palestinian negotiators report progress in the Cairo talks on implementing the autonomy agreement. Self-rule is to begin in mid-April in Gaza and the West Bank town of Jericho.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, visiting Canada, said the attacks would not sway Israel from the peace talks. He called on Israelis to be on the alert for further attacks.
″With all of the pain and sorrow, we will continue with the negotiations, and we will fight terror,″ Rabin said on army radio. ″This terror wants to kill Israelis and kill the peace process.″
The soldier was sipping a soft drink at a refreshment stand in Gaza when the assailant stabbed him in the neck, said Zvi Saar, the stand owner.
The army confirmed the killing of the 30-year-old soldier and said the attacker was captured.
The Nahal Oz junction is a main Gaza entry point for both the Israeli military and Arab day laborers, with mingling in front of the snack shop owned by a nearby kibbutz a common occurrence.
In the West Bank town of El Bireh, a PLO leaflet today called for attacks on settlers to avenge the death of a 16-year-old shot a day earlier when troops fired into a schoolyard to disperse stone-throwers.
″Kill them before they kill you,″ the leaflet said. It was signed by the Shabibeh youth movement of PLO chairman Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction.
PLO officials played down the threats, saying it was written locally and didn’t reflect official PLO positions.