Local Time

Friday, November 24, 2006

Israel kills 2 Palestinians in Gaza: medics

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli forces shot dead a 10-year-old Palestinian boy and a militant in Gaza on Friday, hospital officials said as the government vowed it would only end its assault when militants stopped attacking Israel.

The latest Israeli ground and air offensive, about a week old, is part of ongoing efforts to stop Gaza militants from firing rockets at Israel. Two Israeli soldiers were slightly wounded in the northern Gaza Strip when gunmen detonated an explosive device near troops, the army said.

"If the Palestinian terror factions, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, stop terror activities from the Gaza Strip, Israel would have no reason or incentive to operate in Gaza," said government spokeswoman, Miri Eisin.

Palestinian factions in Gaza late on Thursday had offered to stop firing rockets if Israel halted military action in Gaza and the occupied West Bank. Israel rejected the offer.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told reporters it was up to Israel to respond positively.

"The issue should not be seen as if there is a Palestinian army with an arsenal of rockets ... The issue is that there is an unarmed Palestinian people who are subject to Israeli aggression," he said.

Palestinian hospital officials said the boy was shot dead east of the town of Beit Lahiya. Israel's army said it was not aware of the incident. Hamas said the other dead Palestinian was a militant and cameraman from the faction's armed wing who filmed Hamas fighters in action.

Israel has killed nearly 400 Palestinians in Gaza, about half of them civilians, since it began its offensive in June following the abduction of an Israeli soldier in a cross-border raid, hospital officials and residents say.

Three Israeli soldiers have been killed.

ROW OVER UNITY GOVERNMENT

The fresh fighting coincides with a visit to Gaza by President Mahmoud Abbas of the once-dominant Fatah faction, who has been meeting Haniyeh to try to revive talks on forging a unity government.

Haniyeh is a member of the Hamas movement, which ousted Fatah in elections earlier this year and has resisted international pressure to renounce violence and recognize the state of Israel.

Hamas accused Abbas on Friday of imposing what it called unacceptable conditions for a unity cabinet, including the release of a captured Israeli soldier and a halt to attacks on Israel.

Palestinians hope a unity government will convince Western nations to renew aid to the Palestinian Authority after sanctions were imposed because of Hamas's refusal to recognize Israel and renounce violence.

"Mr. Abu Mazen (Abbas) has started putting new conditions which were not included in the understandings and agreements we have concluded to form a unity government," said a Hamas statement from Damascus, where many of its leaders live in exile.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior Abbas aide, said Hamas had "invented" the idea the president was imposing new terms, saying they had been on the table for months.

"This is the latest trick by the Hamas leadership to portray itself to the public as not being responsible for the destruction of the internal Palestinian situation," he said.

Haniyeh was more upbeat, saying the "true intention" of the talks was to reach an agreement.

(Additional reporting by Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem, Mohammed Assadi in Ramallah and Khaled Yacoub Oweis in Damascus)

Dictionary

English to Arabic to English Dictionary
Find word:
Exact Word / Starting Word Sub Word
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
www.SearchTruth.com

Please Feel Free to Donate