IDF Kills 2 Palestinians in Halhul, Arrests 17 in W. Bank

The Israel Defense Force yesterday killed two wanted Palestinians and arrested three others in the Hebron area. Another 14 Palestinians were arrested elsewhere in the West Bank as part of the IDF's continuing operations in Area A of the Palestinian Authority.

An IDF force entered the town of Halhoul, north of Hebron, early yesterday morning and arrested Jamal Hasan Abu Ra'sbeh, a member of Force 17, Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat's personal guard.

IDF sources said the troops noticed a vehicle fleeing the area where the arrest was made and opened fire, killing two people in the car. They were identified as Khalid Abu Kheiran, local commander of the PA's General Intelligence Apparatus (under the command of Tawfiq Tirawi) and another intelligence officer, Ahmed Abdel Aziz Zomareh.

An army spokesman said both men were wanted for "many attacks against Israelis" in the Hebron area and were shot when they ignored orders to halt and tried to flee from a house that troops had surrounded. Palestinian sources said that Israel had made previous attempts to kill the two men, including a missile attack against an office they were in.

In the village of Dura, south of Hebron, the IDF arrested Mahmud Suweita, a member of the Preventive Security Service headed by Jibril Rajoub. In the Palestinian area of the city of Hebron, an undercover unit of the Border Patrol captured Hasan Ali Kawasme, a senior activist in the military wing of Hamas.

Nine Palestinians suspected of being involved in terrorist activity were arrested in the village of Dir al-Azoun, north of Tul Karm. Another three Palestinian suspects were apprehended in the village of A'nin, west of Jenin, and two members of the General Intelligence Apparatus were arrested at a surprise roadblock south of Ariel.

Two Fatah activists, Hasan Amarneh and Ahmed Hamad, were recently indicted in military court for allegedly planning a suicide attack in the Afula area. They were arrested on March 18 when attempting to cross the Green Line in the Ta'anachim area. Another indictment was entered against Abd al-Rahim Buscar, 19, a resident of the Askar refugee camp in Nablus. He was also arrested in March when attempting to infiltrate Israel and is suspected of planning to carry out a suicide attack.