Two Elderly Palestinians Killed On Suspicion Of Pro-Israeli Actions
JERUSALEM (AP) _ Masked gunmen stormed the homes of two elderly Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and killed them with shots to the head because they suspected them of pro-Israeli actions, Arab reporters said today.
In the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian vigilante group calling itself the ″Blue Vultures″ today claimed responsibility for hacking to death a 22-year-old Arab in the Rafah refugee camp Friday night.
Wall graffiti signed by the group said the man, Saki Abu Amra, was slain because he sold drugs. The group has been linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a radical PLO faction.
In the West Bank killings, the victims, a man and a woman, both 70, were slain because they were suspected of selling land to Israelis and serving as informers for Israel, the reporters said. The shootings occurred in the West Bank village of Hajja late Friday, the reporters said.
They said the army imposed a curfew.
An army spokeswoman said she was checking the reports. She confirmed a curfew was imposed on Hajja late Friday.
Palestinian reporters identified the victims as Ahmed Yousef Shanaa, who was struck by three bullets, and Sheika Mohammed Khalife, who was killed by two bullets.
Israeli authorities took the bodies for autopsy, the reporters said.
The two deaths, and the slaying in Gaza, brought to 528 the number of Palestinians slain by fellow Arabs since the December 1987 uprising against the occupation.
Most were killed on suspicion of helping Israel, but others also were hit by self-appointed vice squads.
Also today, there were reports 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 a Hamas activist over a political argument today, Palestinian reporters said. The victim, Fayez Abu Sarire, 23, was wounded in the neck.
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.
Army officials said they were investigating the reports of the Gaza death and the Hamas-Fatah clashes.