- The Washington Times - Friday, October 24, 2003

JERUSALEM — For the first time, Israel published a detailed map yesterday of its planned security barrier, which would encircle tens of thousands of Palestinians, cutting them off from the rest of the West Bank, while keeping about 80 percent of Jewish settlers on the Israeli side of the fence.

The fence’s snaking path, sloping from flat land up into mountains, cuts deep into the West Bank and will likely inflame already-fierce international opposition.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the military also was planning a final section of the barrier in the eastern area of the West Bank and would soon present it to the Cabinet. That section, which would cut off Palestinians from the Jordan Valley, would likely pass a few miles from the Jordan River, he said in a TV interview.

“The route is being planned now. The moment it will be completed, it will be presented to the government,” Mr. Sharon said.

Palestinians are strongly opposed to the barrier, saying Israel is using it to create a de facto border that infringes on West Bank land they claim for a future state. Israel says the barrier is intended to keep Palestinian militants from entering the country to carry out attacks.

Early yesterday, two Islamic militants cut through a fence around the Jewish settlement of Netzarim in the Gaza Strip and broke into the barracks of soldiers guarding the area. They went from room to room shooting sleeping soldiers, killing three and wounding two, according to the army and media reports.

Troops shot and killed one Palestinian, who was armed with an assault rifle, but failed to find the second attacker, the army said.

Also yesterday, Palestinian doctors said an 11-year-old Palestinian died after being wounded by Israeli gunshots near his Gaza home. Elsewhere in Gaza, a 10-year-old boy was hospitalized after being shot in the stomach.

The militant group Hamas later released surveillance video of Netzarim taken before the attack, suggesting an increase in the militant group’s ability to plan and carry out such raids.

The video, several minutes long and apparently shot from far away, showed the settlement’s red-roofed houses, an army truck and a station wagon driving on roads inside and a person riding a bicycle. The video also showed the two attackers practicing throwing grenades and shooting at a plastic soda bottle.

The face of the attacker who escaped was blurred in the video to protect his identity. Militants identified the dead attacker as Samir Fouda, 21, a Hamas militant from Gaza.

Gaza is surrounded by a security fence of its own, and none of the more than 100 suicide bombers who have attacked Israelis over the past three years made it past the fence. Israel says it is seeking to replicate that success with the West Bank barrier and has already built 90 miles of fences, walls and trenches around the northern part of that territory.

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