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Increasing deaths of Palestinians raise fears of violence escalation

English.news.cn   2014-03-12 02:14:36

GAZA, March 11 (Xinhua) -- Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian civilian in the West Bank on Tuesday morning, triggering widespread condemnation from Palestinian leaders, as a sharp uptick in violence between Israel and the Palestinians has killed at least six people in the West Bank and Gaza in the last 24 hours, officials said.

On Tuesday morning, Israeli soldiers opened fire at a car that drove through an army checkpoint near Tulkarem in the northern West Bank, killing one Palestinian man and moderately injuring a second, medical officials said.

Medics also reported that two Palestinian civilians were killed on Monday, including Saji Jarab'a, an 18-year-old who was shot dead on Monday night by Israeli soldiers during clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli settlers near Ramallah. His death sparked outrage and calls for vengeance as hundreds of angry mourners buried his body on Tuesday.

In another incident on Monday, a Palestinian-Jordanian lawyer was killed as he crossed from Jordan into the West Bank through the border crossing point between the two areas. Israel said the man was killed after he tried to grab the gun of an Israeli soldier at the crossing.

Nabil Abu Rdeineh, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a press statement that Israel's latest killings " would bring us to a situation that will be very difficult to control and will undermine the peace process."

"Such actions would drag the entire region to a dangerous situation," said Abu Rdeineh, who called on the United States and the international community "to immediately act to rescue the situation and put an end to the violence."

Meanwhile in Gaza, three suspected Islamic Jihad militants were killed on Tuesday in an Israeli airstrike targeting Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip, according to medical and security sources, right after Hamas seized the parts of an Israeli army reconnaissance drone that crashed in the area.

Ashraf al-Qedra, Gaza emergency spokesman in the Hamas-run Ministry of Health, told reporters that Ismail Abu Jouda, 24, Shaher Abu Shanab, 24, and Abdul Shafi Mo'amar, 33, were killed when they were hit by an Israeli missile in southeast of the enclave.

The armed wing of Islamic Jihad said in a leaflet sent to reporters that the three were killed when they fired mortar shells at an Israeli army force that rolled into an area southeast of the coastal enclave.

"All options are open and it is our right to retaliate this crime. We will choose the proper time and place for responding to the killing of our three militants," said Abu Ahmed, spokesman of the group's armed wing, adding "the current ceasefire with the enemy is dying."

"Israel carries out actions that aim at killing the peace process in the Middle East," said Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization. "Israel is pushing the Palestinians towards more violence in order to force them to pull out of the peace talks and show that the Palestinian side is the one who doesn't want peace."

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine called in a press statement on the Palestinian factions and the militant groups to "immediately respond to the Israeli enemy's escalation and to the killing of the six Palestinians."

The escalating violence comes as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas prepares to head to Washington on March 17 to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama and to debate the future of the peace process in the Middle East.

Official Palestinian figures said that around 45 Palestinians were killed by Israel since the resumption of the U.S.-sponsored peace talks between the two sides. The talks are scheduled to end its nine-month term in April 2014.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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