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 Wednesday, 25 December, 2002, 08:47 GMT
Israeli troops kill Hamas militant
Funeral of Hamas militants Shaman Sobih, front, and Mustafa Fash, rear, on Monday
Israel has been targeting Hamas activists
Israeli forces killed a wanted Hamas militant in the West Bank town of Nablus early on Wednesday and wounded a second Palestinian.

Palestinian and Israeli sources agreed that the dead man, Ibrahim Abu Hawash, was a senior Hamas figure but disagreed about who fired first.

A second militant who was wounded in the exchange reportedly dragged Abu Hawash's body into a house which Israeli paratroops then raided, uncovering a cache of weapons.

The Israeli army detained a total of 16 wanted Palestinians overnight, an army source said.

Gaza skirmishes

A Palestinian teenager was killed and three others were wounded in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday when Israeli tanks fired a shell into a group between the Karni and Erez crossings with Israel.

The Israeli army said soldiers saw members of the group digging near an army post, and fired into them on the suspicion that they were planting explosives.

Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah conducts midnight Mass in Bethlehem
Patriarch: Peace is in Israel's hands
Earlier, the army said it had blown up a house after discovering a tunnel used for smuggling weapons into Gaza from Egypt.

It said it had faced Palestinian gunfire as it demolished several other houses along the Egypt-Gaza border.

Speaking at midnight Mass in Bethlehem, Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah, the highest-ranking Roman Catholic clergyman in the Holy Land, criticised Israel's response to the Palestinian uprising.

"The key to solving this conflict is in your hands," he said at the Church of the Nativity.

"By your actions so far, you have crushed the Palestinian people but you still have not achieved peace."

Israeli forces, which have occupied the town for much of the year, agreed to stay away from Bethlehem's centre for two days.


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25 Dec 02 | Middle East
24 Dec 02 | Middle East
24 Jun 02 | Middle East
03 Dec 01 | profiles
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