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The BBC's Bill Hayton
"The settlers have been amongst the main targets of Palestinian fighters"
 real 56k

The BBC's Frank Gardner in Jerusalem
"They're insisting on the right of hot pursuit"
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Thursday, 10 May, 2001, 03:14 GMT 04:14 UK
Flare-up as Israel buries slain boys
Funeral of two Israeli teenagers found slain on Wednesday 9 May
The two boys were found dead early on Wednesday
Israeli forces have destroyed a police post in the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip after the funerals of two Israeli teenagers who were found beaten to death.

The latest Israeli incursion in Gaza came after further mortar attacks on Jewish settlements in the area.

Palestinian officials said several people were injured and buildings damaged when Israeli forces stormed into a refugee camp in the Rafah region, near Gaza's border with Egypt. There was an exchange of fire with Palestinian police.

Ariel Sharon on a visit to Maale Adumim settlement near Jerusalem
Mr Sharon blamed the Palestinian Authority

Earlier the Israeli Government said it would hunt down the killers of the two teenage boys found bludgeoned to death in the West Bank.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was joined by figures including Pope John Paul II in deploring the killings. The incident followed Palestinian anger over the killing of a four-month-old Palestinian girl by Israeli shrapnel on Monday.

But the BBC's Peter Biles in Jerusalem says it is not yet clear if the killings of the teenagers were political or the result of a robbery gone wrong.

In the latest clashes in Gaza, a mother and her baby were among those injured by Israeli shelling, Palestinian sources said.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat denounced the Israeli incursion as unacceptable.

Stoned to death

Yosef Ishran and Yaakov Mandel, both aged 14, were reported missing on Tuesday after skipping school and going hiking outside the Tekoa Jewish settlement near Bethlehem where they lived.

Yaakov Mandel, 14, who was found dead on 9 May
The family of Yaakov Mandel, 14, was from the US
Police suspect the boys were stoned to death by Palestinian militants, spokesman Raffia Yaffe said.

Mr Sharon said the "horrifying murders" outside Tekoa amounted to "another escalation in the terrorist activities and violence carried out by the Palestinians against an innocent civilian population".

He called on the Palestinian Authority to "halt terrorism and stop the poisonous incitement against Israelis and Jews" in the official Palestinian media.

Palestinian officials have also condemned the Tekoa killing. Senior negotiator Saeb Erekat said children and civilians were unacceptable targets, whether they were Palestinians or Israelis.

"But the short way for peace and stability is finishing the Israeli occupation," he said.

Clear pattern

The BBC's Middle East correspondent, Frank Gardner, says a clear pattern has been emerging in the latest Israel-Palestinian violence, with Palestinian militants increasingly focusing their attentions on Israeli settlements and those that live in them.

Yosef Ishran, 14, who was found dead on 9 May
Yosef Ishran, 14, was new to the settlement

More than 400 Palestinians and about 80 Israelis have been killed in more than seven months of violence between the two sides.

The settlements on Arab land captured by Israel in 1967 - which are illegal under international law - are one of the major sticking points blocking any long-term peace deal.

Palestinians say there can be no peace with Israel while their land remains under occupation, but Mr Sharon has so far refused to consider a freeze on settlement activity while the violence continues.

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See also:

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05 May 01 | Middle East
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