- The Washington Times - Friday, August 31, 2001

JERUSALEM — Three Palestinians were killed and 30 wounded yesterday in clashes with Israeli troops, even as Israeli forces were completing their pullout from the West Bank town of Beit Jalla, whose reoccupation Tuesday sparked an international uproar.
Israeli soldiers also lifted a blockade in Gaza, after cutting a main road for two days. Earlier yesterday, soldiers refused to let a senior U.N. official pass through.
[Agence France-Presse reported from Gaza that the head of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) for the West Bank, Khayis Abu Leila, escaped an Israeli assassination attempt early today.]
The continued violence elsewhere in the occupied territories dimmed hopes that a limited U.S.-backed truce in one Palestinian town might spread to other areas of the West Bank.
Also yesterday, an elderly Israeli was gunned down by a masked man in a Palestinian village as he sat in a restaurant he helped a friend establish.
In contrast, calm prevailed in the town of Beit Jalla, which Israelis said they reoccupied to stop Palestinian gunfire at a Jewish neighborhood across a valley, in a disputed part of Jerusalem.
The Israelis pulled out following an understanding negotiated by Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat with the involvement of U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and European diplomats.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the United States was encouraged by the Beit Jalla understanding and said he hoped it would lead to security cooperation between the two sides.
In the divided West Bank town of Hebron, however, violence broke out after the funeral of an officer in Force 17, an elite unit of Mr. Arafat's security forces, who was killed in a clash Wednesday.
Gunmen took cover behind buildings and fired at Israeli tanks in the Israel-controlled sector of Hebron, drawing return fire. A 50-year-old Palestinian doctor was shot and killed as he ran to retrieve his car. Palestinians said he was not involved in the fighting.
The Israeli military said the exchanges of fire went on throughout the day. They denied a Palestinian claim that an Israeli tank entered the Palestinian section of the city.
Most of Hebron was handed over to Palestinian control in 1997, but Israel still controls the center, where about 500 Jewish settlers live in three enclaves among tens of thousands of Palestinians.


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