Police Block Road Leading to Gaza Hotel Housing Right-wing Extremists

Three Palestinians hurt in attacks by settlers in southern Gaza hotel; settlers call it 'self-defense,' police say otherwise.

Police on Sunday afternoon blocked the road leading to the Maoz Hayam hotel in Gaza's Gush Katif after some of the right wing-extremists living there attacked and wounded three Palestinians a day earlier.

The moveable roadblock adjacent to the hotel, which is located on the coast near the Neveh Dekalim settlement, is manned by police officers and secured by Israel Defense Forces soldiers. The officers will register all civilians entering and exiting the hotel compound.

Some 30 families of right-wing extremists moved into the hotel during the past several weeks. Among them are children and a number of central members of the outlawed Kach movement.

The decision to block the road near the hotel was made Sunday morning. There is still no legal tool that will prevent the use of the hotel by the far-right activists but the defense establishment is hoping the roadblock will allow greater supervision of what goes on at the site.

Security figures are disturbed by the presence of the far-rightists in the Maoz Hayam compound, which is expected to serve as a symbol of opposition to the disengagement.

The Palestinians who were attacked on Saturday were from from the adjacent Moassi area. The attack was met by mortar barrage being fired at Gush Katif.

Palestinian sources said Salah Amtayer, 55, was at the beach when he was beaten by settlers. Two other Palestinians, Mohammad Majaida, 19, and Nasser Wafi, 40, were also attacked when they came to Amtayer's aid. Police said that when the Palestinians threw stones at their attackers, a settler opened fire on them, and they suffered moderate injuries.

A spokesman for the Gaza Coast Regional Council said that hotel residents had been walking on the beach when they were attacked by dozens of Arabs, and that the wounding of the Palestinians had been an "act of self-defense" by the settlers. Shortly after the incident, about seven mortars were fired at Gush Katif. There were no injuries. Light arms and an anti-tank missile were also fired at soldiers in the area.

Police said the hotel residents who are suspected of opening fire on the Palestinians fled the scene, and their identity is uncertain.

Kfar Darom infiltrationIn the incident at Kfar Darom on Saturday afternoon, four Palestinians opened fire at the IDF fortification tower in the area of the settlement's greenhouses. Soldiers in the tower returned fire, killing an lslamic Jihad activist, identified by Islamic Jihad sources as Ashraf Aluti, 23, and injuring a Fatah militant. There were no injuries to IDF soldiers. At a press conference in Gaza, Islamic Jihad representatives said the attacks were timed to coincide with the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The commander of the central Gaza Strip brigade, Colonel Motti Kidud, said this was the third attempt this month by Islamic Jihad to carry out a major attack against Kfar Darom.