- The Washington Times - Friday, August 24, 2001

HEBRON, West Bank — Israeli troops in armored vehicles and jeeps moved into the Palestinian section of this divided city late yesterday, Palestinian security sources said. The move followed a gunfire attack that left two Jewish brothers wounded.
Israeli settlers said the two were standing on the balcony of their house when a bullet struck one of the brothers in the hand and then penetrated the chest of the other, an 11-year-old.
The Israeli military had no immediate comment. The Palestinian security officials said the Israelis moved in with jeeps and armored personnel carriers and took control of several parts of the neighborhood, across a valley and above the Jewish houses.
About 450 Jewish settlers live in three enclaves in Hebron among 130,000 Palestinians. Friction between the two sides is frequent, and gunfire attacks from the Abu Sneineh neighborhood at the 450 settlers take place almost daily.
The incursion came hours after Israel's military tracked down a prominent Palestinian activist traveling in his car, fired missiles — and narrowly missed.
Israel reasserted its commitment to targeted killings of militants believed responsible for bombings and shooting attacks against Israel.
"While we miss today, we may catch them the next time," said Raanan Gissin, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "The continuous pressure on these individuals disrupts their operations, puts them off balance, requires them to constantly watch themselves."
The Israelis fired twice on the car carrying Jihad Mussaimi, who served nine years in an Israeli prison in the 1980s for bomb attacks. Mussaimi is also a local leader of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement in the West Bank town of Nablus.
Palestinian witnesses said they believed the missiles were fired from helicopters, but Israeli military sources said ground-based missiles were used.
The first missile hit the ground in front of the car, spraying the vehicle with shrapnel. Mussaimi, who suffered injuries to his right leg, said he managed to jump out before the second missile hit the car.
Israel's military said in a statement that Mussaimi was "responsible for a long line of [recent] shootings and bombing attacks against soldiers and Israeli citizens."
Since the Mideast violence began last September, Israel has killed more than 50 Palestinians in targeted attacks against suspected terrorists. Raids have been carried out with Apache helicopters, though the Israelis have also employed exploding car headrests, booby-trapped telephones and snipers.
In most cases, the Israelis have killed their intended target. In several instances, Palestinian bystanders have also died.
"Israel has to stop its cold-blooded murders, its collective victimization of the Palestinian people, behaving as if it has the full right to inflict any type of pain and suffering on the Palestinian people and get away with it," said Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi.
In Gaza City, several thousand Palestinians marched through the streets in a funeral procession for Bilal Ghoul, a 21-year-old Palestinian killed in an Israeli helicopter strike on Wednesday that targeted his father.


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