Israeli gunship attack kills two
Palestinian sources said the man was one of two Palestinians killed in an attack by Israeli helicopter gunships in the West Bank town of Jenin, just a few miles from Israel's border with the West Bank.
The Israeli military has not issued any statement on the incident, which happened just before noon on Saturday. However, Israel has in the past attacked Palestinians it believes are linked to strikes on Israeli targets.
Senior Palestinian official Tawfiq al-Tirawi said the attack was an assassination attempt by Israel against an intelligence officer.
Israeli helicopters were seen hovering near the Palestinian security headquarters when the car of Abdel-Karim Oweis was hit with a missile, he said.
Oweis is reported to have escaped serious injury and was treated at a nearby hospital but his passenger was killed.
The other man killed was a Palestinian police officer standing near the car when the missiles hit.
Eyewitnesses said one missile struck the ground near the car and at least two more missiles were fired. One struck the car and another hit a nearby building.
Palestinian health officials said 16 people were injured and the building was extensively damaged. Witnesses said a number of those injured included children returning from school.
Meanwhile, Israel Defense Forces reported that one civilian was slightly injured Saturday when three mortar bombs were fired toward the Neve Dekalim settlement in Gaza. Officials said three more mortar bombs were fired toward Israeli territory north of Gaza.
The latest reports of violence follow the destruction by Israeli forces of at least three homes in Gaza on Friday in one of the deepest moves into Palestinian territory.
More than 500 people -- the vast majority of them Palestinians -- have been killed in the eight-month uprising in the Middle East.
Israel said the action 800 meters inside the Palestinian-controlled town of Deir al-Balah Friday followed a Palestinian grenade attack that wounded two soldiers.
The tank and mortar attacks were the latest Israeli-Palestinian clashes in a week of intense violence that saw the killing of a four-month-old Palestinian baby and the death by stoning of two Israeli teenagers.
U.S. President George W. Bush Friday called the Mideast killings "abhorrent."
He said: "Our nation weeps when people lose their lives. What we must do is work hard to break the cycle of violence."
"It's going to be very difficult for us to be able to bring people to the peace table so long as there is violence."
Israel has said it will continue incursions into Palestinian areas and other forms of retaliation for attacks on Israeli targets, despite criticism from the United States.
A Palestinian cabinet statement said: "The Palestinian leadership considers this unjustified and provocative escalation a blatant call for comprehensive struggle that would affect the entire region," according to Reuters. The Palestinians called for international intervention.
Further north in Gaza Friday, Israeli tanks fired on a Palestinian village, and were reported to have wounded at least four people.
Israel Defense Forces says it was retaliating for a mortar attack on a Jewish settlement.
Palestinian hospital officials say a teenage boy was shot and killed while throwing stones at soldiers near a Gaza crossing.
Police in Jerusalem say a suspected pipe bomb exploded near a main entrance to the Old City. Two tourists from Poland were slightly wounded.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society said separate clashes in the West Bank Friday left another four Palestinians wounded.
At the United Nations late Friday, three Arab ambassadors met U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his special Middle East envoy, Terje Roed-Larsen, on "the need to focus on what urgent steps should be taken," U.N. officials told Reuters without elaborating.
The envoys from Tunisia, the Arab League and the Palestinian Authority have been pushing for a U.N. observer force in the West Bank and Gaza.
The United States has vetoed such a proposal in the 15-nation Security Council and its envoys said there has been no change of policy.
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