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Jordanian Kills 1 at Border

Gunman injures four other tourists as they cross into Israel. He is slain by security forces.

November 20, 2003|From Associated Press

EILAT, Israel — A Jordanian truck driver fired on a crowd of tourists crossing into Israel, killing one and wounding four near this Red Sea resort. The gunman was killed by Israeli security personnel.

Jordanian officials condemned the shooting and said the gunman, who came from a predominantly Palestinian town, was not linked to any organized armed group.

But Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz decried what he called "part of the recent long and painful string of terror attacks in which world terror groups were involved."

Arieh Zaks, manager of the Rabin border crossing, said the driver was known to officials. He drove a cattle truck and entered Israel about once a month with the animals, Zaks told Israel TV.

Israel Radio said the man, who had wrapped his gun in a blanket, raised suspicion when he got out of the truck. Israeli guards shot him six times while he was still on the Jordanian side of the border.

Israeli officials said five Ecuadorean Christian pilgrims were wounded by the man. One of them, a 33-year-old woman, died of a head wound nine hours later at Soroka hospital in Beersheba, a hospital worker said. The victim's name was not released.

The attack came as Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Korei traveled to the Gaza Strip to try to persuade militant groups to halt attacks on Israel.

Egyptian intelligence officials and Korei held separate talks with leaders of the militant groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Militant group leaders were to meet with Egyptian mediators next week.

Korei has said his first priority was to get the militants to agree to a truce, and then bring Israel into the accord. Hamas and Islamic Jihad said they would be willing to consider a truce if Israel reciprocated.

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