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Friday, 9 November, 2001, 14:51 GMT
Two shot dead in Mid-East violence
Dan Naveh, back row, right (behind Binyamin Netanyahu) at 1998 Mid-East peace talks
Dan Naveh (back right) has been moved for his own safety
An Israeli woman has been shot dead in an ambush as she drove to her Jewish settlement home near the town of Jenin in the West Bank.

Palestinian security and hospital sources said soon after that a deaf Palestinian man had been shot dead by Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis, near the border with Israel.

The Israeli army said soldiers fired after the man ignored their warnings not to get any closer. Relatives said the man was mentally retarded and deaf, and that he had not provoked the soldiers in any way.

The attacks came as several high-profile Israeli politicians were advised by security officials to leave their homes because of concern that their lives might be at risk following the assassination of the Israeli tourism minister last month.

The al-Aqsa Brigade, affiliated to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, has claimed responsibility for the killing of the Israeli woman, the Associated Press news agency reported.

A statement from the group said the shooting was in response to a car explosion on Tuesday in Jenin that killed two Fatah activists.

Minister moved

Israeli cabinet minister Dan Naveh on Friday was moved from his home after reports that he might be the next target of Palestinian militants.

Assassinated Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi
Israel demands the handover of Zeevi's suspected assassins

Mr Naveh, a minister without portfolio and a member of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud party, lived in the town of Shoham, near the border with the West Bank.

The Palestinian-controlled towns of Jenin and Tulkarm in the West Bank remain occupied by Israelis following the assassination last month of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi.

But Israeli troops have withdrawn from four other West Bank towns they entered after the assassination.

A Palestinian court on Wednesday ordered the release of two militants arrested in connection with the assassination.

The Palestinian Authority has arrested dozens of members of the militant PFLP - Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - and outlawed the group's armed wing since the killing of Zeevi.

However, it has consistently refused to hand the suspects over to the Jewish state.

Zeevi's death led to several incursions by the Israeli army into Palestinian towns on the West Bank in the past three weeks.

Arafat's dilemma

Zeevi's death, and the subsequent violence, has placed renewed pressure on Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as Israel continues to demand the arrest of Zeevi's assassins and other suspected militants.

So far, he has avoided confronting the armed militias by detaining mostly members of their political wings.

This has angered both Palestinians and Israelis; Palestinians because they see these people as intifada activists and community leaders, and Israelis because they see them as terrorists.

See also:

17 Oct 01 | Middle East
Analysis: Israel's 'new era'
06 Nov 01 | Middle East
Israel announces new pull-back
17 Oct 01 | Middle East
Obituary: Rehavam Zeevi
15 Oct 01 | Middle East
Israeli army pulls out of Hebron
03 Nov 01 | Middle East
Israel praises new US terror list
27 Aug 01 | Middle East
Israel kills key Palestinian leader
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