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Sunday, 17 November, 2002, 16:53 GMT
Hebron ambush: What happened
An Israeli soldier trains his gun on a Palestinian neighbourhood in Hebron
Israeli troops protect Hebron's 450 Jewish settlers
As Israeli soldiers return to Hebron in force, details are emerging about the Palestinian ambush in which 12 Israelis were killed on Friday.


The terrorists must have thought that I was dead so they did not continue shooting at me

Israeli soldier

The attack started at 1900 (1700 GMT) on Friday, as Jewish settlers and their police guards returned from Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs to Kiryat Arba settlement after prayers to mark the start of the Sabbath.

Three Palestinian militants armed with automatic rifles and hand-grenades had taken position on the roofs of Palestinian homes, and began firing at the guards as well as nearby Israeli troops and armed settlers.

A group of soldiers stationed to ensure the safe passage of the worshippers took the brunt of the attack.

One of them recalled the incident from his hospital bed in Jerusalem: "We were four soldiers walking on foot, in a very dark area between Palestinian homes," he told Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper.

"Suddenly one or two of the terrorists began firing from behind, and my three comrades were killed.

"I was lightly wounded, and the terrorists must have thought that I was dead so they did not continue shooting at me," the soldier said.

Some of the armed settlers were injured but others returned fire, killing one gunman.

Senior victim

A Border Police jeep moved down the alley and then turned around, according to Ha'aretz.

One of the gunmen leaped at them from inside a house and fired at close range.

Dror Weinberg
Weinberg was the highest-ranking Israeli to die since 2000
Three policemen were killed, and one was injured.

The most serious blow to the Israeli forces occurred when Colonel Dror Weinberg, the Israeli army commander for the Hebron area, arrived at the scene.

He left his jeep at the entrance of the alley, intending to rescue the ambushed men. He was immediately shot in the chest and later died of his wounds.

At the end of a fierce three-hour battle, a total of 12 Israelis lay dead - four soldiers, five border policemen and three members of the emergency response squad from Kiryat Arba.

All three Palestinian militants were also dead.

The radical group Islamic Jihad said it carried out the attack.

It was the one of the deadliest attacks on Israeli forces since the start of Palestinian uprising two years ago - second only to the battle that killed 23 Israeli soldiers at a refugee camp in Jenin in April 2002.



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17 Nov 02 | Middle East
16 Nov 02 | Middle East
16 Nov 02 | Middle East
03 Dec 01 | issues
15 Nov 02 | Middle East
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