- The Washington Times - Monday, November 11, 2002

KIBBUTZ METZER, Israel A Palestinian man broke into an Israeli farming community late yesterday and went on a shooting rampage, killing five persons, including two children, Israeli officials said.
Two hours later, Israeli helicopters fired rockets into a large auto-body shop in downtown Gaza City, touching off a huge fire, witnesses said. The workshop was believed to be empty at the time of the attack, shortly before 2 a.m.
The Israeli military declined immediate comment, though it has frequently targeted metal workshops in the past, saying Palestinian militants use them to manufacture weapons.
In the shooting attack, the gunman entered Kibbutz Metzer, a collective farming community in northern Israel, just across the border from the West Bank shortly before midnight yesterday.
"There was shooting for close to 10 minutes, then the security forces arrived and we're shut inside the houses," a member of the farm, identified only as Irit, told Israeli radio.
The Israeli security forces could not immediately locate the gunman, and it appeared that he may have escaped from the farm, about 30 miles northeast of Tel Aviv.
The Israeli rescue service, Magen David Adom, said at least five persons were killed, including two children.
"Israelis in their own homes were brutally targeted by Palestinian terrorists," said David Baker, an official in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office.
Earlier yesterday, a car exploded outside the kibbutz after Israeli police ordered the driver to stop. The two occupants were killed.
It was one of three instances yesterday in which Israeli authorities said they managed to avert an attack.
In another case, the army said it arrested a 15-year-old from the West Bank city of Nablus who was on his way to carry out a suicide bombing when he was caught.
Also, the army arrested a man it described as a senior Hamas member who was planning an attack from the West Bank town of Hebron.
Throughout the West Bank, Israeli troops have been in or near Palestinian cities for nearly five months, imposing curfews and tough restrictions on Palestinian movements as part of an effort to keep militants from carrying out attacks.
Before the violence erupted yesterday, the Israeli army withdrew its tanks and troops to the outskirts of the West Bank town of Jenin. The move came after a two-week manhunt that concluded with the killing Saturday of an Islamic Jihad militant accused of orchestrating attacks that killed more than 30 people. About 1,000 troops pulled out of the city, abandoning 50 to 60 buildings used as observation posts and sniper positions, the army said.
The army said it arrested dozens of suspected militants, including three potential suicide bombers, during its stay in Jenin.
Life in Jenin regained a semblance of normalcy yesterday. Children went to school for the first time in two weeks. Shops reopened and bulldozers began removing rubble from at least six buildings demolished by the army.
The army entered Jenin to search for militants after an Oct. 21 suicide bombing by a pair of Islamic Jihad members who blew up their car next to a bus, killing 14 persons on board.
The army found and killed the man it said was responsible for that bus bombing and an earlier bus attack that killed 17 persons. The militant, Iyad Sawalha, was hiding in an apartment in Jenin's casbah.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide