Gunman kills five in Israel
JERUSALEM: Israeli Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Monday for the removal of Yasser Arafat’s “terror regime” after a Palestinian gunman killed five Israelis, including a mother and her two children, in a kibbutz.
Netanyahu’s remarks underlined the tensions facing a new US peace mission to the region. A gunman slipped into Kibbutz Metzer, near the dividing line between northern Israel and the West Bank, and opened fire overnight outside a dining hall, killing a woman visitor and the kibbutz’s chief administrator who had been on guard duty.
The attacker then burst into a house and shot dead a 34-year-old woman and her two children, aged four and five, before fleeing.
Seven Israelis were injured in the shooting spree before the gunman escaped, and as security forces continued a hunt in the area, newly-appointed Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz met aides to consider his reaction to the fresh spate of violence. Arafat announced he had set up a committee to investigate whether a deadly kibbutz attack was a bid by an armed Fatah offshoot to sabotage talks between his faction and Hamas.
Violence: A two-year-old Palestinian, who was among four children wounded by Israeli fire on a house in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip Monday, died of his injuries, Palestinian medics said. The children were all from the same family, living close to the Israeli-controlled border with Egypt. Before dawn on Monday, an Israeli helicopter gunship used rockets to destroy a metal foundry in Palestinian-ruled Gaza City believed to be making mortar bombs, Israeli security sources said. —AFP/Reuters
Israel to go to polls on January 28
JERUSALEM: Israel’s early general elections are to take place on January 28, nine months ahead of schedule, parliamentary sources said on Monday.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided on the early polls on November 5, following the defection of the Labour Party, his main partner in a government of national unity. The Likud Party had wanted to bring forward the election date, while the centre-left Labour supported the January 28 date proposed by an electoral commission. —AFP