4 Palestinians Killed in Clashes With IDF

Infiltration attempt thwarted at Kfar Darom

Four armed Palestinians were shot dead over the weekend in clashes with the Israel Defense Forces in the West Bank and Gaza. Two of those killed tried to infiltrate Friday into the Jewish settlement of Kfar Darom in the Gaza Strip, while the other two were Tanzim men in Jenin who yesterday fired on Golani soldiers patrolling the city.

The Tanzim men opened fire at a Golani unit. After the soldiers killed one Palestinian, another took the casualty's rifle and continued to shoot. He was then killed and two other Tanzim operatives were hurt. Israel Defense Forces officers speculated this was a Tanzim squad responsible for a series of recent gunfire attacks in Jenin.

On Friday evening, an IDF soldier was lightly wounded by shots fired by Palestinian gunmen in the vicinity of the West Bank settlement of Itamar, near Nablus.

In Nablus yesterday, an Israeli tank opened fire on stone throwers, injuring six people, according to Palestinian witnesses. The army said a patrol was shot at in Nablus and fired a tank shell at the source of fire in return.

Israeli troops and Palestinians also clashed on the outskirts of the city after several hundred peace activists from the Israeli Jewish-Arab peace group Taayush, or Coexistence, tried to deliver food to Palestinians, but their vehicle convoy was stopped at an army checkpoint. Keren Akoka, a group member, said Taayush was trying to bring baby food and medical supplies to Nablus, whose 150,000 residents have been under curfew for two months.

Military officials said the demonstrators, all Israeli citizens, were blocked by the army because they had not coordinated their entry into Palestinian areas with the army's civil administration. The supplies would be allowed through when the demonstrators dispersed, they said.

Opposition leader Yossi Sarid (Meretz) yesterday called for the lifting of the curfew in Nablus, saying a curfew on 150,000 for more than 60 days was unreasonable and ceased to be a legitimate defense measure.

On Friday the army demolished the Tul Karm home of a Hamas man suspected of involvement in the Passover eve suicide bombing at the Park Hotel in Netanya. Palestinian sources said that a nearby hospital was damaged by the blast.

In Gaza, the IDF said it demolished three Palestinian houses and destroyed crops between the Palestinian town of Dir al-Balah and Kfar Darom. The IDF said the houses, abandoned months ago, were regularly used to launch attacks on the settlement.

In a phone call to the Associated Press, a caller claimed responsibility for the Kfar Darom attack on behalf of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a branch of the Fatah.

At the funeral for one of the gunmen, Fatah activists using loudspeakers told thousands of mourners he had "paid with his life to rid the people of the ugly `Gaza First'," the plan whereby Palestinian security forces would curb violence in return for Israel easing an army clamp down.

Palestinian Interior Minister Abel Razak Yehiyeh failed on Thursday to convince militant and national factions to back an end to attacks against Israelis and accept Israel's plan to ease its military clamp down in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.