BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Persian Pashto Turkish French
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Middle East  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Friday, 23 August, 2002, 11:24 GMT 12:24 UK
Gaza violence as militants reject deal
Israeli tanks in Gaza
Jewish settlements are protected by Israeli troops
Two Palestinian militants have been shot dead as they attempted to attack a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army has said.

The armed men were killed in a gun battle with Israeli troops after trying to infiltrate the settlement of Kfar Darom, according to military sources.


The people of Gaza cannot expect to have freedom for themselves while the people of the West Bank are suffering

Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant group linked to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, said it was behind the thwarted raid.

It came hours after radical Palestinian groups rebuffed an appeal by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to call off attacks on Israeli targets.

PA Interior Minister Abdel Razak Yehiya met about a dozen rival Palestinian factions in Gaza City on Thursday night to try to win their backing for a security plan with Israel.

But an official from the militant Palestinian group Hamas said that "resistance should continue until the [Israeli] occupation ends".

Home destroyed

In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military said two Palestinians dressed in Israeli army uniforms opened fire on an army post near the Jewish settlement, slightly injuring a soldier.

Troops returned fire, killing one of the Palestinians in a gun battle, the army said.

The body of a second militant, who was wounded in the fire fight, was found about 500 metres (1,600 feet) from the settlement, Palestinian sources said.

A third Palestinian who was also involved in the attack escaped and is being hunted, the army said.

In the West Bank town of Tulkarm, Israeli troops blew up a house belonging to Hamas member Mohannad Shraim, whom Israel accused of planning the Passover suicide bombing in March, which killed 29 Israelis.

Residents said 11 people were left homeless by the destruction of the four-storey building.

Israel said it is also considering demolishing the homes of four Arab residents of east Jerusalem, arrested in connection with a bomb attack at the Hebrew University last month, which killed nine people.

Phased withdrawal

The meeting in Gaza centred on the so-called Gaza-Bethlehem First plan, hammered out in recent high-level talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Palestinian police in Bethlehem
Bethlehem is being used to test the security plan

Under the plan, Israel would stage phased withdrawals from Palestinian areas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in return for an end to attacks by Palestinian militants.

Israeli took control of seven out of eight Palestinian cities in the West Bank in June after a wave of deadly suicide bombings.

On Monday, Israeli troops pulled back from Bethlehem in a first test of the plan, and areas of the Gaza Strip and Hebron are expected to be next.

Plan rejected

But following three hours of talks with the Palestinian Interior Minister, Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh said the deal was unacceptable.

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin
Yassin refused to call off attacks

"The people of Gaza cannot expect to have freedom for themselves while the people of the West Bank are suffering," he said.

The spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, also rejected an Israeli appeal to the PA to stop Hamas firing rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Speaking on Qatari-based Al-Jazeera television, Sheikh Yassin said Israel "must be deprived of security just as we [Palestinians] are deprived of security".

Earlier, Israeli Defence Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer praised Palestinian officials as "sincere and serious" about preventing attacks by militants.

"If we have attacks every day, it is clear that nothing will work... but we should not demand too much from them [the Palestinians] in the immediate future, so as to leave some room for hope," he added.

Israeli and Palestinian officials are due to meet again on Monday for more talks on advancing the security plan.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's James Rodgers
"The buildings in this crowded part of Gaza city now look like a row of teeth with one missing"

Key stories

Profiles

FACTFILE

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

21 Aug 02 | Middle East
20 Jun 02 | Middle East
08 Aug 02 | Middle East
19 Aug 02 | Middle East
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes