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Archive for Saturday, July 24, 2004

Israel takes vengeance on militant

July 24, 2004

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— An Israeli helicopter attack in Gaza that killed two Palestinian militants was aimed at a man believed to have jubilantly displayed the severed head of an Israeli soldier two months ago, security officials said Friday.

Hazem Rahim and another militant were killed late Thursday, partly fulfilling a pledge by the Israeli army chief to "show no forgiveness" to the men who gloated over the corpses of six Israeli soldiers last May and held their body parts for ransom.

The Israeli helicopter-launched missile pulverized a white Subaru as it drove through the crowded Zeitoun district of Gaza City.

The Islamic Jihad identified the victims as its members, and the Israeli army said Rahim was involved in the deadly May roadside bombing.

The May 11 attack shattered an armored personnel carrier transporting explosives, scattering the remains of the six soldiers over a 300-yard radius. Militants paraded through the streets with body parts and video footage flashed on Arab television showed two masked Islamic Jihad activists taking responsibility and displaying the head of an Israeli soldier on a table in front of them.

On the diplomatic front, Israel's relations with the European Union plunged further with a sharp warning from the EU's foreign policy chief, Javiar Solana, that the Europeans cannot be ignored in diplomacy.

Solana's two-day visit to Israel turned frosty after the European Union voted as a bloc for a resolution in the U.N. General Assembly demanding that Israel dismantle the barrier it is building and compensate Palestinians for confiscated land.

Israel argues the barrier is necessary to keep out Palestinian suicide bombers, while the Palestinians say the barrier imposes intolerable hardships.

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