- JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Gunmen
killed four people in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank on Saturday
in the first such attack since Israel launched a four-week-old military
sweep through Palestinian-ruled cities.
- A U.N. mission to find out what happened during Israel's
three-week military operation in the Jenin refugee camp waited in Geneva
for a green light to depart for the region.
- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan agreed to hold the
team back at the request of Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres to give
the Israeli cabinet time to discuss the fact-finding mission at its Sunday
morning meeting, a U.N. official said.
- The Israeli army said four people had been killed and
six wounded, one of them severely, in the attack by one or two gunmen on
Adora, a few kilometers (miles) west of the divided city of Hebron. The
army had earlier put the death toll at five.
- The attack came a day after President Bush insisted Israel
must end its military offensive "now," after another Israeli
raid defied his earlier demands.
- "The attack this morning against Israeli citizens
in the West Bank proves that terror has not yet been eradicated,"
Israeli government spokesman Aryeh Mekel said.
- There was no immediate Palestinian comment.
- Hebron was the only big West Bank city not reoccupied
in Israel's offensive, perhaps because the army feared a full-scale assault
would endanger about 400 Jewish settlers living in heavily guarded enclaves
among 120,000 Palestinians.
- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon unleashed the West
Bank campaign on March 29 after suicide attacks killed scores of Israelis.
Israel says many of the attackers came from the Jenin refugee camp, scene
of the fiercest fighting in the offensive.
- There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the
attack on Adora and the assailants appeared to have escaped.
- "Everything here is confusion," Adora resident
Rut Bar Yosef told Israel radio. "Everyone is in shock, not absorbing
- SNIPER WOUNDS PALESTINIAN
- In Bethlehem, an Israeli sniper wounded a Palestinian
in the besieged Church of the Nativity amid an apparent setback in efforts
to resolve the 24-day-old standoffs peacefully.
- "The man was messing with some cables near the door
of the church and he was armed so we fired on him. He will be taken by
ambulance for medical treatment," a military source said.
- Bethlehem lawmaker Salah Taamari consulted Yasser Arafat
at the besieged Palestinian president's Ramallah compound on talks with
Israel aimed at ending the church stalemate.
- But a presidential adviser, Nabil Abu Rdainah, said later
that Arafat had given Taamari no instructions.
- About 200 demonstrators marched toward Arafat's compound,
vowing to stage similar protests every day until the Ramallah siege is
lifted. Israeli troops dispersed them with tear gas.
- Gunfire has often erupted around the Bethlehem church
since Palestinian fighters took refuge there on April 2.
- Israel says militants inside are holding hostage scores
of civilians, including clergymen and nuns. Palestinians deny anyone is
being held at the shrine against their will.
- Israel has vowed to keep up its siege until the militants
surrender for trial or exile. Palestinians reject these terms.
- A Palestinian teenager previously in the church said
gunmen inside were willing to be exiled, but only if Arafat agreed.
- "There was a discussion among everyone. They all
proposed that seven or eight of the men be deported so that the 200 others
inside could be saved," Fouad Lahaam, 19, told Reuters.
- "The armed men were willing as long as the president
agrees," said Lahaam, who was allowed to leave the church this week,
along with eight other youths, when the bodies of two Palestinians shot
dead by Israeli troops were evacuated.
- U.N. MISSION
- Israel first accepted the U.N. mission, then threatened
to block it, apparently fearing it would find itself in the dock. Palestinians
say this shows Israel has something to hide.
- Beefed up by security advisers at Israel's behest, the
U.N. team had been due to leave Geneva earlier in the week. Israel has
sought assurances that its mandate will be limited to Jenin and that it
would not expose Israeli soldiers to prosecution.
- Palestinians say hundreds of civilians may have died
in the Jenin camp, many in homes flattened by tank fire and bulldozers.
- Israel says 48 people, mostly fighters, were killed while
it lost 23 soldiers fighting what it calls "a nest of terror."
- The Islamic Hamas group's political leader in the Jenin
camp resurfaced after weeks in hiding, vowing to pursue the fight against
Israel. "If the Israelis believe they have eradicated the infrastructure
of resistance here, they are wrong. Despite all our losses, it will rise
again from these ashes stronger than before," Jamal Abdul Salam al-Heija
- Annan's team is led by former Finnish President Martti
Ahtisaari and includes Cornelio Sommaruga, Swiss ex-president of the International
Committee of the Red Cross, and Sadako Ogata of Japan, former U.N. high
commissioner for refugees.
- In Qalqilya, about 10,000 Palestinians marched in the
funeral of Raed Nazzal, local leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation
of Palestine, who was killed by Israeli troops during a raid on the West
Bank town on Friday.
- Witnesses said mourners shouted "Revenge, Revenge"
as militants fired assault rifles into the air.
- Palestinian officials said the army had returned the
body of Mohammed al-Dibis, 19, shot near a Jewish settlement in the Gaza
Strip. The circumstances of his death were not clear.
- At least 1,314 Palestinians and 458 Israelis have been
killed in the 19-month-old Palestinian uprising against occupation which
erupted after Sharon, then opposition leader, visited a Jerusalem shrine
holy to Muslims and Jews.