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Last Updated: Friday, 9 December 2005, 19:26 GMT
Palestinians sue over air strike
The relatives of Palestinians killed in an Israeli air strike in 2002 have filed a lawsuit in New York against a former Israeli security chief.

The suit alleges that former Shin Bet director Avi Dichter was responsible for the strike in Gaza, which killed a senior member of militant group Hamas.

The one-tonne bomb killed 14 other people, including eight children.

Israel has dismissed the lawsuit as a "cynical manipulation of the courts by groups with extremist agendas".

'PM approval'

The suit seeks unspecified damages and class-action status for survivors and relatives of those killed, the Associated Press reports.

The action is being brought by the US Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR).

The plaintiffs allege that Mr Dichter was responsible for "war crimes and gross human rights violations for his participation in the decision to drop the bomb on the residential neighbourhood", a CCR statement said, quoted by the French news agency AFP.

Meanwhile, Mr Dichter has said every targeted killing carried out by the army requires the personal approval of the prime minister, Israel radio reported.

In a lecture at a US research institution, Mr Dichter said the targeted killings also endangered innocent Palestinians.

He left the security service after 29 years, in 2005.

Shin Bet is responsible for Israel's internal security, including tracking the activities of Palestinians in the occupied territories.

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