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Israel Army Kills Palestinian Gunman

August 11, 2002

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JERUSALEM (AP) _ Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian Sunday after he opened fire on Israeli road workers in the northern Gaza Strip, wounding one of them, the Israeli army said.

The Palestinian gunman shot the Israeli worker near the Jewish settlement of Dugit, and the worker suffered at least five bullet wounds in his arms and legs, said Noa Rosolio, a spokeswoman for the Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon. The worker is in stable condition, according to Rosolio.

Israeli troops then pursued the gunman and saw him enter a house in the nearby Palestinian area of Beit Lahiya, the army said. The gunman fired on the Israeli soldiers, who shot back and killed him, the army said.

The military also said it found a hidden bomb on the trail leading to the house where the gunman fled.

In a shooting at a Jewish settlement in the West Bank on Saturday night, a Palestinian gunman cut through a wire fence and shot dead an Israeli woman and wounded her husband before the attacker was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers, the army said.

The attacker entered the Jordan valley settlement of Mechora late Saturday night, armed with an automatic rifle, the army said. After using wire cutters on the fence, he crawled through the opening and fired on a car, seriously wounding the driver as he arrived at his home. The driver’s wife was fatally shot as she came out of the house.

The attacker was shot dead by soldiers who were in the settlement, the army said.

The couple’s two children were rescued by neighbors while the shooting was still going on, residents of the settlement said.

``We drove to the scene of the incident,″ Eli Lavi, a resident of the settlement, told Israel Radio. ``We found her lying on the lawn and her husband inside the car wounded. We tried to get into the house, but there was shooting. Then, within seconds, her brother and a friend jumped out, ran in and got the babies out of the house.″

The Palestinian was wearing a ribbon of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militia loyal to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement, the army said.

In a separate incident Saturday, Israeli soldiers shot and killed an armed Palestinian shortly after he entered Israel from the Gaza Strip, the army said. He was carrying an assault rifle and grenades. One of the grenades apparently exploded when he was hit by fire from the soldiers, the army spokesman said.

The Palestinian belonged to the militant Islamic group Hamas, sources in the group said.

In Washington, CIA director George Tenet met the Palestinian Authority’s interior minister, Abdel Razak Yehiyeh, to discuss security issues. A high-level Palestinian delegation has been in Washington for several days of talks on ways to stop violence and reform the Palestinian administration.

Yehiyeh presented a plan for bolstering security to Tenet, said people close to the Palestinians, speaking on condition of anonymity in Washington. Yehiyeh told Tenet he was revamping what remains of a Palestinian security force devastated by the Israelis, and firing officers he found to be incompetent.

In the West Bank, Arafat aide Nabil Abu Rdeneh said the delegation in Washington had told the Americans that Palestinian elections could not be held as long as Israeli troops were occupying Palestinian areas and keeping people under a tight curfew.

``The cornerstone of stability in the Middle East depends on establishing a Palestinian state, and we hope this American-Palestinian relationship will continue for the benefit of stability and peace in the region,″ Abu Rdeneh told reporters.

The talks in Washington are the highest-level U.S. Palestinian meetings since President Bush called in June for Palestinians to replace Arafat and to reform the Palestinian Authority.

U.S. officials confirmed Friday that a CIA team met secretly with Palestinian officials and drew up a detailed plan for significant changes in Palestinian security services.

In the West Bank city of Nablus, a Palestinian municipal worker Ahmed al Kouraini was shot dead by soldiers. The army expressed regret and said it appeared Kouraini had a permit to move through the city streets despite the curfew. It said it was investigating and would ``take disciplinary action″ if it was found the soldiers had violated regulations.

The army has been searching Nablus for Palestinian militants and bomb workshops.

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