Top Hamas fugitives lobbed grenades and fired automatic weapons today to push back Palestinian security forces storming their hideout, leaving six dead in the bloodiest clash since the Palestinian president launched a crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank two years ago.
In a direct message to Hamas’ interior minister in Gaza, Israeli jet fighters destroyed his office early today, intensifying an air invasion while delaying a broad ground offensive to give Arab mediators a last chance to gain the release of a kidnapped soldier.
Palestinian security forces set up roadblocks throughout the southern Gaza Strip today as they stepped up a search for three British citizens abducted by Palestinian gunmen, the latest in a wave of kidnappings of foreigners in the chaotic area.
An Israeli airstrike today killed two Palestinian militants in the northern Gaza Strip and a Palestinian man fatally stabbed an Israeli soldier in the West Bank, intensifying a new round of violence in the wake of a suicide bombing at an Israeli shopping centre this week.
ABOUT 100 masked militants stormed the heavily guarded home of Gaza’s former security chief early yesterday, dragged him out in his pyjamas and killed him in a burst of gunfire — a brazen challenge to the Palestinian Authority days before Israel was to hand over Gaza.
ISRAELI troops handed the quiet West Bank town of Jericho to Palestinian security control yesterday, dismantling checkpoints and easing travel restrictions in what was seen as a message to ordinary Palestinians that an informal truce is starting to pay off.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told parliament today he is determined to press ahead with his plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank, but remains open to peace talks with the Palestinians after their violent uprising ends.