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hamas vows revenge as israel shoots proteste

  1. klown

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    Hamas vows revenge as Israel shoots protesters
    By Justin Huggler in Gaza City
    23 February 2003

    Two Palestinians were killed when Israeli soldiers opened fire on a crowd of protesters in the West Bank city of Nablus yesterday, bringing the number of Palestinians killed in one week to 33.

    The Israeli army said its soldiers opened fire because Palestinians were throwing firebombs and rocks, though Palestinians claimed they only threw stones. The army said one man was shot dead because troops saw him holding something suspicious.

    Yesterday's violence arose amid an Israeli army offensive against the Islamist militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip, where most of this week's deaths have taken place – a bloody backdrop to the first talks between the Israeli government and Palestinian officials in months.

    A few metres from buildings left in ruins by the Israeli army, where, Palestinians said, three young civilians were killed, Abd al-Aziz Rantisi, a leader of Hamas's political wing, rejected calls for a ceasefire. "It's impossible to make what they wrongly call a ceasefire – this ceasefire means only surrender, and we prefer to die than surrender."

    Mahmoud Abbas, Yasser Arafat's deputy in the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, and a leading candidate to become prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, said yesterday the PA leadership would back a proposed one-year ceasefire.

    But a ceasefire that does not include Hamas, now the most powerful militant group, will not get far. There is little love lost between it and the PA.

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