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Archive for Sunday, August 10, 2003

Palestinians seek U.S. help as Hamas leaders call for revenge

August 10, 2003

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— Clamoring for revenge, thousands of Hamas supporters Saturday buried two militants killed in an Israeli raid, and a senior Palestinian official urged the United States to intervene to prevent the unraveling of a 6-week-old truce.

The militants and an Israeli soldier were killed Friday when troops raided a bomb lab in a West Bank refugee camp, sparking a gunbattle. A Palestinian stone-thrower also was killed by troops.

At their funerals in the West Bank city of Nablus, masked gunmen fired in the air, and mourners waving Hamas flags chanted slogans demanding retribution.

The Web site of Hamas' military wing, Izzedine al Qassam, called on militant cells to exact "a quick response to this crime to teach the enemy a deterrent lesson."

Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, said the statement "doesn't need any explanation. It means they will retaliate."

The group's leaders, however, stopped short of saying the incident would wreck a cease-fire declared June 29 by Hamas and other militant groups.

Meanwhile, Palestinian security chief Mohammed Dahlan said he was seeking $250 million from international donors to rebuild police stations destroyed by Israel during nearly three years of fighting. In a statement released late Friday, he said the process would take three years.

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