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Monday, 2 September, 2002, 22:02 GMT 23:02 UK
Israel probes Palestinian deaths
Grieving relatives of dead Palestinians
There is growing concern over Palestinian deaths
Israel will hold an inquiry after at least 10 Palestinians, including a number of children, were killed by the army over the weekend, its Defence Ministry says.


The calls for an investigation are meant for media consumption

Saeb Erekat, Palestinian minister

The killings - in three separate incidents across the West Bank - have revived debate within Israel about the army's tactics in fighting the two-year-old Palestinian uprising.

This issue was underlined on Monday when Palestinian security officials said a 12-year-old girl had been seriously wounded in the West Bank town of Nablus.

Marwa Kayed was shot in the head and chest when Israeli troops opened fire on stone-throwing demonstrators.

Meanwhile a senior Palestinian official called for an end to violence against Israelis, saying Palestinians should switch to civil resistance to continue the intifada.

"All forms of Palestinian violence have to stop," Interior Minister Abdel Razzak al-Yahya told Reuters news agency. "I call for civil resistance within the framework of the political struggle.

'Special team'

Defence Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer has ordered the creation of a "special team headed by a major-general" to examine recent incidents in which Palestinian civilians died.

The team has been ordered to present "operative recommendations to prevent the recurrence of such unfortunate accidents in the future" in a report on Friday.

But Palestinian officials dismissed the Israeli probe as a cosmetic gesture and have condemned the recent killings as an attempt to sabotage ceasefire talks.

Mourners attend the funeral procession of the four Palestinians killed on Sunday.
Palestinians say the recent killings were 'in cold blood'
"The calls for an investigation are meant for media consumption because we have never heard of any result of these panels created after the killing of Palestinian civilians," senior Palestinian cabinet minister Saeb Erekat said.

The Israeli army continued its operations in the West Bank on Monday, demolishing at least six homes in the village of Yatta near Hebron, reportedly because they overlook a road used by Jewish settlers.

Army sources said an armed Palestinian who had tried to throw grenades at a troop transporter had been shot dead in the Gaza Strip, near the border with Israel.

Israeli soldiers also arrested a man they identified as a senior leader of the militant group Islamic Jihad who, Israel said, was planning a suicide attack.

Mohammed Ahmed Amin Jarar, 42, was arrested in a raid in the Palestinian village of Kafr Qud, eight kilometres (five miles) west of Jenin.

Three Hamas activists were also reported to have been arrested in the El Fara refugee camp south-east of the town.

'Trigger-happy'

Last week, Israeli President Moshe Katsav called for an investigation into claims that the military had become "trigger happy".

Moshe Katsav, Israeli president
Katsav warned against jumping to conclusions
On Sunday, four Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli troops near a Jewish settlement on the West Bank.

Four Palestinian children were killed on Saturday after Israeli helicopters fired missiles at a vehicle carrying a Palestinian militant near the West Bank city of Jenin.

A Palestinian youth was also shot dead in clashes with Israeli troops in the Jenin refugee camp.

The weekend's deaths came after the army said it would look into an operation in Gaza last Friday in which four Palestinian civilians from the same family were killed by an Israeli army tank shell.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's James Reynolds
"One question is being asked in Israel - has the army become trigger happy?"
Palestinian human rights lawyer Raja Shehadeh
"There have been investigations which resulted in no indictments or very light sentences"

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01 Sep 02 | Middle East
19 Jun 02 | Middle East
20 Jun 02 | Middle East
16 Jul 02 | Middle East
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