- MADRID (AFP) - The European
Union says it is deeply concerned by reports from Palestinians that Israeli
troops had massacred hundreds of Palestinian refugees in the West Bank
refugee camp of Jenin.
"(The EU) finds the reports of the events which happened at the Jenin
camp very alarming. If they are confirmed, they will have very serious
consequences," the EU said in a statement from Madrid, which currently
holds the presidency of the 15-nation bloc. It did not go into details.
Both the Palestinians and Israelis agree that many people were killed in
Jenin, which was occupied by Israeli tanks on Thursday after nine days
of the bloodiest battle of Israel's military offensive into the West Bank.
An Israeli military source told AFP some 250 Palestinians were killed.
The Palestinians say hundreds more were killed and their information minister,
Yasser Abed Rabbo, on Friday accused Israel of digging mass graves for
900 Palestinians in the camp.
Israel has denied the allegations of indiscriminate killings and mass graves
but this has been impossible to verify because journalists were not allowed
into the camp until Friday and were then denied access to areas where the
fighting was fiercest.
The EU also voiced its "extreme concern over the increase in tensions
in the region despite the efforts of the UN secretary of state" and
its "firmest condemnation" of a Palestinian suicide blast on
Friday that killed the woman bomber and six other people near a crowded
market in west Jerusalem.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell is currently in the Middle East in a
bid to convince Israelis and Palestinians to end the escalating bloodshed.