YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Palestinian Guns Down 2 in Jewish Settlement

Attacker opens fire in a West Bank home where an Israeli family was sitting down to a New Year's dinner. A guest and a baby are slain.

September 27, 2003|Henry Chu | Times Staff Writer

JERUSALEM — As Israelis began celebrating the Jewish New Year, a Palestinian gunman infiltrated a Jewish settlement in the West Bank on Friday night and killed two people -- including a baby girl -- before being fatally shot, Israel's Army Radio reported.

Despite heavy security, the attacker managed to slip into the settlement of Negahot, near the city of Hebron, and knock on the door of a private home, where the family inside was sitting down to a New Year's dinner about 9 p.m., radio reports said.

A 30-year-old guest answered the door and was gunned down, Israeli radio said. The owner of the house returned fire. The gunman fled but shot off a few more rounds, which killed the girl -- who was less than a year old -- and wounded the father and another person.

Israeli soldiers and settlement security officers who rushed to the scene shot and killed the gunman, then combed the area for other possible attackers, the reports said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility by any of the Palestinian militant groups that have attacked Israelis during the 3-year-old Palestinian uprising.

The shooting shattered a brief period of calm for Israelis, who were preparing for the Jewish holiday season starting with Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, which began Friday evening.

"The Palestinians have started the Jewish New Year with another bloody terrorist attack," government spokesman David Baker said, according to the newspaper Haaretz. "It's obvious that they've taken a New Year's resolution to continue with their trail of terror against Israel."

In three years of fighting, more than 2,400 Palestinians and 800 Israelis have died.

Israeli police have been on high alert for possible attacks over the holidays. Soldiers sealed off the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Friday and allowed Palestinians entry into Israel only for humanitarian reasons.

Overnight Thursday, the Israeli army arrested 30 wanted Palestinians in the West Bank city of Ramallah and a suspected member of the Islamic Jihad militant group in Jenin, Israeli radio reported.

The attack in Negahot came on the heels of a call by the United Nations, the U.S., Russia and the European Union for the Palestinian Authority to crack down on terrorism.

The incoming Palestinian Authority prime minister, Ahmed Korei, is still putting together his Cabinet, which has been more than two weeks in the making. Korei was tapped by Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat to succeed Mahmoud Abbas, who resigned this month.

The Israeli government blames Arafat for encouraging terrorism and says it will not work with any new Palestinian leadership controlled by him.

But Korei has said from the outset that he would form a government only with Arafat's backing as well as with assurances from the U.S. and other outside authorities that they would hold Israel accountable for its obligations under the current Mideast peace initiative.

Los Angeles Times Articles