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Thursday, 19 October, 2000, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
Israel vows retribution for lynchings
Israeli police check Palestinian vehicle on West Bank
Israel says it will punish all those responsible for the deaths of its soldiers
Israel has warned that the Palestinians who participated in the lynching of two Israeli soldiers on the West Bank last week will be punished.

"Israel will dispense justice against everyone who participated in this odious act and nobody can escape us," Deputy Defence Minister Ephraim Sneh told Israeli radio.

His remarks came after reports that Israeli special forces had captured up to eight Palestinians suspected of taking part in the killings.

But Israel was still declining to say whether the ringleaders in the lynching had been caught.

Orthodox Jews pass posters of the killings
The Israeli public was deeply shocked by the murders
Sneh drew attention to the fate of a Palestinian group who murdered 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, most of whom were later tracked down and killed by Israeli agents.

'Dangerous development'

Palestinian UN observer Nasser al-Kidwa on Wednesday described reports of the captures as a "very dangerous development".

In a speech to the emergency special session of the UN General Assembly, he said that the Palestinians who killed the two soldiers had reason to believe that they were members of a special military unit called the "mustaribeen" (arabists).

This unit had on previous occasions infiltrated Palestinian areas and committed "savage acts" including summary executions, he added.

Last week, hundreds of angry Palestinians stormed the police station in Ramallah where the soldiers were being held after their arrest by Palestinian police.

Two or possibly three of the soldiers were then beaten and stabbed to death and one of their bodies was thrown out of the window to the crowd.

Israel says that the men were army reservists who took a wrong turning before being apprehended in Ramallah.

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See also:

18 Oct 00 | Middle East
Israel accused of 'excessive force'
18 Oct 00 | Middle East
Street protesters still in defiant mood
13 Oct 00 | Middle East
Lynch mob's brutal attack
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