IDF officer killed, 3 soldiers hurt in Nablus

09:12 06/07/2004 An Israel Defense Forces officer in an elite naval commando unit was killed early Tuesday and three other soldiers were wounded, one seriously, in a gun battle with wanted Palestinian militants in a West Bank refugee camp. Four Palestinians – two senior militants and two civilians – were killed in the shooutout and a subsequent Israeli missile strike in the Ein Beit-Ilma refugee camp in Nablus. The shootout erupted after the soldiers surrounded a four-story building in a bid to arrest the Nablus commander of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and his deputy, who were hiding inside, Israel Radio reported. The Israeli officer was killed and two soldiers were wounded in the gun battle, and Amjed Hanani, the deputy PFLP commander in Nablus, was killed.

The PFLP commander, Yamon Faraj, escaped to a nearby building occupied by about 30 civilians and shot at the IDF troops, wounding a third soldier, according to Israel Radio. An Israeli helicopter fired a missile at the building in which Faraj was holed up, killing him and two civilians: an academic from An Najah University, Dr. Khaled Saleh – who has American citizenship, according to Israel Radio – and his son Mohammed, 16. The two wanted men were responsible for a number of suicide attacks in which Israeli civilians were killed, Army Radio reported. Israeli wounded were evacuated to Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, and to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva. Palestinian teen said killed in Gaza In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops shot dead a 14-year-old Palestinian boy late Monday, shortly after an Israeli man was wounded by mortar fire at the nearby settlement of Neveh Dekalim, Palestinian officials and medics said. Palestinian security officials said the teenager, Ala al-Shaer, was shot dead as he stood in a street in the Khan Yunis refugee camp. IDF troops backed by tanks and helicopters launched a raid in south Gaza early Tuesday, seeking tunnels used by Palestinian militants to smuggle weapons from Egypt, witnesses and a military source said. According to witnesses, 12 tanks penetrated about 150 meters into the Rafah refugee camp, about an hour after some 20 had massed along the Philadelphi corridor on Gaza’s southern edge with Egypt. An IDF source said the troops had launched a “routine raid for weapons tunnels.” A total of three mortar shells were fired into Neveh Dekalim on Monday evening and damage was also caused to a number of homes and vehicles. The settlement’s security coordinator, Ilan Terteks, 33, was wounded in the chest by mortar fragments after he heard an explosion from the first mortar shell and ran to the scene. Since the beginning of the intifada in September 2000, more than 4,000 mortar shells have been fired at settlements in Gaza’s Gush Katif bloc. In a separate incident, Palestinians in northern Gaza fired a Qassam rocket at Israel that fell short of its mark and hit a Palestinian home in the Jabalya refugee camp. A number of residents were lightly wounded by the rocket. BPI