Residents of Neveh Dekalim Hotel Attack Palestinians

Right-wing extremists living in the hotel at Neveh Dekalim in Gush Katif yesterday attacked Palestinians from the adjacent Moassi area. Three Palestinians were injured in the attack, which met a response of mortars being fired at Gush Katif.

In a separate incident, an Islamic Jihad activist was killed near the settlement of Kfar Darom in the center of the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian soures 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.

About 30 families, including children, are living at the hotel, now named Maoz Yam. A hotel resident told Haaretz that police entered hotel rooms yesterday afternoon looking for suspects in the shooting of the Palestinians. He protested the alleged desecration of the Sabbath.

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.

On Friday afternoon, two Qassam rockets were fired at Sderot, landing in an open area near the town. Israel Defense Forces soldiers last week discovered three bombs, each weighing dozens of kilograms, near the border fence in the southern Gaza Strip.

In the incident at Kfar Darom yesterday 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.

Some 15 demonstrators and three members of the security forces were lightly injured Friday during a demonstration against the separation fence near the village of Bil'in west of Ramallah. Hundreds of Palestinians, accompanied by Israeli leftists, took part in the demonstration, which began quietly, but turned violent after the IDF operated a device that emits powerful sound waves. Soldiers and police shot rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas at the crowd, and the Palestinians threw stones.

The IDF and the Shin Bet security service yesterday uncovered an Islamic Jihad explosives laboratory in Jenin. Soldiers blew up some 50 kilograms of explosives, and arrested an activist, Rami Kandil, 21. Kandil had recently been released from Israeli prison as part of the Sharm al-Sheikh agreements.

At the Qalandiyah roadblock north of Jerusalem, three Palestinians carrying a bag with four Molotov cocktails were arrested yesterday. A Palestinian teen trying to smuggle light arms ammunition was arrested at the Hawara roadblock south of Nablus.