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Monday, 28 January, 2002, 13:10 GMT
Hit-and-run Palestinian shot dead
Crashed Volvo car after hit-and-run incident
The car had been seized from Israeli drivers
A Palestinian man has been shot dead in Tel Aviv after running down an Israeli policeman.

The incident has heightened tensions following a series of militant attacks in Israel, the latest being Sunday's bomb blast in central Jerusalem which killed two people, including the suspected female bomber.


A driver ran over a policeman and dragged him several metres. Police from the nearby police station ran out and shot him

Israeli police spokesman
Palestinian officials have begun vacating buildings in anticipation of an Israeli response to the Jerusalem attack - the third in a week.

Monday's incident began when a Palestinian crashed his Subaru car through an Israeli army road-block outside the West Bank city of Qalqilya.

Having reached the nearby Israeli town of Petah-Tikva, he rammed an Israeli-owned Volvo, which he commandeered when the elderly driver got out inspect the damage.

Map
The Palestinian released the Volvo owner's wife on the way to the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan, but then ran down a policeman, dragging him several metres along the road.

"Police from the nearby police station ran out and shot him," police spokesman Gil Kleiman said.

The policeman was in stable condition in hospital.

Eyewitnesses initially said the driver had opened fire on passersby, but police found he was unarmed.

Female attacker

Israel has stepped up security since Sunday's suspected suicide attack in Jerusalem, although officials are hesitating to call the dead Palestinian woman an intentional "martyr".

Hezbollah's Al-Manar television in Lebanon named her as Shinaz Amuri, a female student at Al-Najah University in the West Bank town of Nablus, but neither Israel, nor the Palestinian authorities, have confirmed this.

Clear-up after Jerusalem bomb
The last week has seen a return of fear to Israeli streets
Al-Najah's director Rami Hamdullah, told AFP there was no such person on the university's enrolment records.

Israeli police said there was "a host of possibilities" as to how the bomb had gone off on the junction of Jaffa Street and King George Street, killing the woman and an elderly Israeli man.

Soldiers were deployed every few yards along Jaffa Street on Monday, marksmen were stationed on rooftops and police from the anti-terrorism unit cruised up and down the street on motorcycles.

Neither Hamas nor Islamic Jihad militant groups - the usual originators of suicide bomb attacks - have said they were involved. Police speculated that the dead woman might have been delivering a bomb which exploded prematurely.

If she was intending to blow herself up, it would be a first in the 16-month cycle of bloodshed.

Security sources say that would require new measures, such as rebuilding the profile of potential suicide bombers and tightening security checks of women at roadblocks.

More than 30 men, including one Arab Israeli, have blown themselves up during the current conflict, killing dozens of Israelis and wounding hundreds.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Orla Guerin
"It is a grim new milestone in this conflict"
Yasser Arafat's spokesman Marwan Kanafani
"The Israeli's kept their policies of assassination and destruction"
Israeli government spokesman, Raanan Gissin
"The Palestinians should understand they can't break us"
The BBC's James Reynolds
"She has perhaps changed the nature of the conflict"
See also:

27 Jan 02 | Middle East
In pictures: Jerusalem blast
28 Jan 02 | Middle East
Close call for 11 September survivor
27 Jan 02 | Middle East
Analysis: Mistrust deepens
23 Jan 02 | Middle East
US puts pressure on Arafat
02 Dec 01 | profiles
Who are the suicide bombers?
25 Jan 02 | Middle East
Cycle of violence gains momentum
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