7 Arabs Killed in 5 Attacks, One by a West Bank Settler


New York Times

September 28, 2004

JERUSALEM, Sept. 27 - Seven Palestinians were killed in scattered violence on Monday that included an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip and a raid by soldiers into a West Bank refugee camp.

Palestinian gunmen in Gaza City abducted an Israeli Arab working for CNN, the network reported. The gunmen stopped a taxi carrying a CNN crew and seized Riad Ali, a producer, said Ben Wedeman, a correspondent for the network who was present.

"We had no indication that this was going to happen,'' Mr. Wedeman said on CNN. "They just asked, 'Which one of you is Riad?' and that was it.''

No group claimed responsibility, and it was not clear who was behind the kidnapping, or why the kidnappers had singled out Mr. Ali.

Gaza has grown increasingly lawless and has had a rash of kidnappings in recent months. Most of the abductions have been related to internal Palestinian fighting, and the victims have been held only a few hours and released unharmed.

Israel has also been hitting hard at Palestinian factions in Gaza, and a missile strike on Monday killed one Palestinian militant and wounded three others while they where traveling in a vehicle near the southern town of Khan Yunis, Palestinian witnesses and hospital officials said.

The attack killed Ali al-Shaer, a member of the Popular Resistance Committees, a faction behind many attacks in Gaza. The main target was Muhammad Abu Nsair, who is responsible for mortar and bomb attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians, Israeli security officials said. Mr. Nsair suffered serious wounds, Palestinian hospital officials said.

In a separate incident in southern Gaza, a Palestinian man in his 50's was fatally shot outside a school, Palestinians said. The Israeli military said it had fired in a nearby area to guard against a possible attack, but was not aware of hitting anyone.

Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinians who were carrying explosives and crawling toward the perimeter fence in northern Gaza, the military said.

In the West Bank, a Jewish settler was arrested by the Israeli police after he fatally shot a Palestinian taxi driver on a road outside the city of Nablus, the police said.

The Israeli man, who was not identified, told the police he was driving when the taxi tried to force him off the road. The Israeli contended that he then shot the taxi driver in self-defense, the police said.

But Palestinian witnesses said the Israeli had fired without provocation, The Associated Press reported.

Gil Kleiman, an Israeli police spokesman, said that the Israeli would be brought to court on Tuesday and that the investigation into the episode would continue.

Also in the West Bank, the military said soldiers had shot two armed Palestinians who approached troops during an operation in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus. Palestinian hospital workers said both men had been killed.

In Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities announced the arrest of five border policemen who are accused of abusing Palestinian men in an incident this month. The officers are accused of detaining the Palestinians at a roadblock and then of burning them with cigarettes, urinating on one of them and forcing them to jump from a second-story window, the Justice Ministry said.