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Sunday, 1 September, 2002, 10:24 GMT 11:24 UK
Killings fuel West Bank tensions
Injured woman at Har Bracha
A pregnant woman was injured at Har Bracha on Saturday
Ten Palestinians have died in 12 hours at the hands of the Israeli army during a weekend of violence in the West Bank.


The Israeli Government is completely responsible for this massacre

Nabil Abu Rdeneh
Four were shot dead early on Sunday near a Jewish settlement outside Hebron, and another was killed in the Jenin refugee camp.

The other five, including two children, died when Israel carried out a helicopter missile attack on a car carrying an alleged member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades on Saturday.

"It's a dangerous escalation, and the Israeli Government is completely responsible for this massacre," said Nabil Abu Rdeneh, an adviser to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, after the Hebron shootings.

An Israeli Government spokesman said that operations had been intended to prevent future attacks.

"We are seeing non-stop efforts to kill Israelis everywhere," said Raanan Gissin. "The only reason there is not more bloodshed is that we are always pre-empting, day and night."

Wire cutters

Troops near the Kiryat Arba settlement shot dead the four Palestinians. They were carrying wire cutters and a saw, but no weapons.

Soldiers with a detained Palestinian
Soldiers arrested two men at Mr Yousef's Ramallah hideout
The army said they were trying to infiltrate the fence surrounding the settlement, but local Palestinians sources said the men were labourers at a local quarry, and were killed while they were asleep.

The shootings came after an incident at the Har Bracha settlement, near Nablus, on Saturday evening, when a Palestinian cut through a fence and approached the houses there.

He opened fire, wounding a pregnant woman and her husband, before being shot dead.

In another incident in Jenin early on Sunday, a 16-year-old Palestinian was shot by troops after they came under fire from gunmen.

Missile attack

Sunday morning's violence came after the deaths of five people, including two children, in an attack which Palestinian cabinet minister Saeb Erekat called a "brutal act of murder".

The Apache helicopter fired two missiles at the car near the Palestinian town of Tubas, about 20km (13 miles) from Jenin.

The man apparently targeted, 29-year-old Rafat Daraghmeh, was reportedly a member of the al-Aqsa Matryrs Brigade, an armed offshoot of Yasser Arafat's Fatah party.

He and two others in the car were killed, and a fourth was wounded.

But when another missile hit a nearby building, two children were killed and another six people injured, including a seven-year-old boy whose condition is now said to be critical.

The Israeli army issued a statement expressing "sorrow over the loss of civilian life,", and Defence Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer has ordered an inquiry.

The army said that the men targeted in the car were planning attacks in Israel over the coming days.

Army success

On Saturday, Israeli soldiers scored what was hailed as a major success when they arrested Hasan Yousef, the West Bank political leader of the Islamic militant group Hamas.

He was blindfolded and then led from a house in Ramallah which he had been using as a hideout.

Correspondents said Israel had long wanted to catch Mr Yousef, who spearheaded relations with other organisations for Hamas since the start of uprising.

The militant group has claimed responsibility for many suicide bombings which have left hundreds of Israelis dead.

Correspondents say that Mr Yousef had been on the Israelis' wanted list for months.

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The BBC's James Reynolds
"The army's tactics are facing criticism from some Israelis"

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