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Archive for Friday, May 11, 2001

Israeli missiles ram Palestinian offices

May 11, 2001

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— Israel blasted buildings of Palestinian security forces in the Gaza Strip with missiles Thursday, a day after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon held the Palestinian Authority responsible for the slayings of two Jewish teen-agers.

Five surface-to-surface missiles slammed into downtown Gaza City. Dozens of people were injured, Palestinians said, and five were hospitalized.

Palestinian police officers take cover after Israeli forces
rocketed their headquarters Thursday in Gaza City.

Palestinian police officers take cover after Israeli forces rocketed their headquarters Thursday in Gaza City.

The attack came hours after a roadside bomb killed two Romanian workers who were repairing a Gaza border fence for the Israelis.

Israeli troops also thrust several hundred yards into Palestinian-controlled territory in Gaza on Thursday, bulldozing crops and destroying a police outpost near the Kissufim crossing, where the Romanian workers were killed. Palestinians said three police officers and a civilian were wounded in a firefight that ensued.

"We are hitting where mortar fire and other attacks emanate from," said Raanan Gissin, Sharon's spokesman.

The Palestinian security forces with which Israel worked until fighting erupted in September "stopped being security forces a long time ago," Gissin said.

"They became terrorist forces, and we warned them several times against continuing this policy."

Three of the missiles fired in the late afternoon reportedly struck Palestinian police headquarters. At least one other missile hit the offices of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, about 400 yards from his headquarters on the Gazan coast. Arafat reportedly was unharmed.

Hours before the missiles hit, Arafat had met in his offices with a delegation of Israeli peace activists and left-wing members of parliament, who said he indicated an eagerness to find a way back to negotiations.

But neither the Israeli government nor the nation's public seems in any mood to start talking.

Newspapers Thursday were dominated by headlines on the slayings in the West Bank of the 13- and 14-year-old boys, who police said were beaten to death when they went hiking in the hills near their West Bank settlement Tuesday. Their bodies were discovered in a blood-smeared cave.

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