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Tuesday, 20 August, 2002, 19:43 GMT 20:43 UK
Israeli troops kill militant's brother
Saadat's relatives argue with Israeli soldier on Tuesday
Israeli forces say they just wanted to arrest Saadat
Israeli special forces have shot dead the brother of the leader of a radical Palestinian group that Israel accuses of assassinating one of its cabinet ministers last year.


I don't think that within a short time there is any possibility that new order will take place in the territories

Binyamin Ben Eliezer, Israeli defence minister

Israeli troops entered a house in the centre of the West Bank town of Ramallah and killed Mohammad Saadat, 23.

Israel says its soldiers had come to arrest him but shot back when they came under fire.

The killing comes amid sporadic violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, following the Israeli pullout from Bethlehem - the first step of a confidence-building security deal with the Palestinians.

An Israeli army spokesman described Mohammed Saadat as an "active member" of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

His brother Ahmed is the head of the PFLP, and is accused by Israel of planning the assassination of tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi last October.

Ahmed Saadat has been in Palestinian custody since May, as part of the deal that ended the siege of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah.

Limited pullout

Two other Palestinians were killed on Tuesday - a teenager shot dead by Israeli soldiers guarding the isolated Morag settlement in southern Gaza, and a gunmen who died during an army raid on Tulkarm in the West Bank.

Ahmed Saadat
Ahmed Saadat is accused of planning Zeevi's murder
And an Israeli soldier guarding the settlement of Gadid in the Gaza Strip was killed during an exchange of fire with Palestinian gunmen.

Despite the violence, Israeli Defence Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer said he was determined to press ahead with a security deal with the Palestinians - but at the same time played down any hope of a major breakthrough.

"I don't think that within a short time there is any possibility that new order will take place in the territories, although we are recognizing a move in both sides," he said.

Under the agreement signed on Sunday, Israel has begun reducing its military presence in some Palestinian areas in return for tougher action to prevent suicide attacks.

Bethlehem was the first city where security has been handed back to Palestinian police.

Fragile deal

The BBC's James Reynolds in Bethlehem says the town is a test case: if Palestinian police there prevent suicide attacks, then Israel may pull back from other West Bank towns.

Palestinian policeman in Bethlehem
Bethlehem is now back under Palestinian control
But if they fail to stop attacks, Israel may move back in.

Israeli forces have remained in positions on the edge of Bethlehem where they were stationed throughout the recent reoccupation.

Our correspondent says many in Bethlehem believe the deal will collapse, because similar agreements have failed in the past.

The security deal has been rejected by key Palestinian elements, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and even from within Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, whose members said it was a poor substitute for full Israeli withdrawal.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's James Reynolds
"The Palestinian police are technically back in control"
Khalil Shikaki, Palestinian Researcher
"The Palestinians are accepting the withdrawal because they are constrained"

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