EU appeals to Israel on Gaza executions'
Call for restraint at crucial moment
ATHENS The European Union (EU) expressed concern yesterday over what it described as "extrajudicial executions" carried out by Israel in the Gaza Strip.
The EU presidency expressed its "deep concern on the recent events in Gaza" and called on Israel to show "ultimate restraint" and avoid such actions, which it said "can derail any effort to reach a peaceful solution to the conflict". Greece holds the EU presidency.
"In such a critical moment for the region and shortly after the recent appointment of a Palestinian prime minister, we consider that extrajudicial executions, which also caused severe casualties among innocent civilians, are rather unwise and counterproductive," the presidency said. It did not elaborate or identify which deaths it was referring to.
Two Israeli soldiers were killed yesterday after Palestinians infiltrated an Israeli military training base in the northern West Bank.
The attack was apparently in retaliation for the killing of 12 Palestinians, including a top commander of the Islamic militant group Hamas, in clashes and Israeli air strikes in Gaza this week. In the attack, two Palestinians with assault rifles infiltrated the Golani Infantry Brigade's training base before dawn, cutting through a fence and opening fire at guards posted at the main entrance to the base, killing one.
One assailant was killed by return fire, but the second ran into the base, killing another soldier and wounding nine before escaping, the officials said. Troops killed the second gunman during searches in the area, the officials said. A spokesman for the attackers said the two gunmen came from the West Bank city of Nablus, about 20km away.
The attack on the army base near the Jewish settlement of Bekaot was carried out by the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade militia, linked to Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a radical Palestinian Liberation Organisation faction, the two groups said.
Palestinian militants have repeatedly attacked settlements and military bases in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
A similar attempt by a Palestinian gunman to infiltrate the Bekaot base several months ago failed when troops killed the attacker.
In the town of Tulkarem, undercover troops fired on a car carrying members of the Al Aqsa militia, killing the driver and wounding four, the army said.
A militia spokesman said that three militants had escaped and that four bystanders were detained. Residents said they saw two militants lying on the ground before soldiers cordoned off the area and whisked them away.
In the Palestinian village of Beit Rima, near Ramallah, Israeli forces demolished the home of a captured senior Hamas leader it says was involved in dozens of attacks that killed Israeli citizens.
Israel says that the intention behind the house demolitions is to deter any future attacks on Israelis. Sapa-AFP
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