Israeli troops demolish two houses in West Bank
JERUSALEM: The Israeli army demolished two houses belonging to Palestinian activists in the northern West Bank before dawn on Thursday, a military spokesman said.
The first house, near Jenin, belonged to Mohammed Tahnieh, accused of having tried to send a suicide bomber into Israel in August 2003, the spokesman said. The second house was destroyed at Salfit, south of Nablus. It belonged to Houssam Halabi, a member of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement, accused of involvement in numerous attacks on Israeli vehicles with automatic fire, one of which killed two Israeli civilians in August 2002 near a West Bank settlement. Since August 2002, the army has blown up more than 200 houses on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Eleven Palestinians, mostly members of Fatah, were arrested on the West Bank during the night, military sources said. The Israeli army on Thursday expelled a Palestinian militant from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip, Palestinian security sources said. For the last year, Louay Tayssir Salameh, an activist with the secular Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) from the West Bank city of Ramallah, has been jailed in Israel without trial.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was meeting with a team of US officials on Thursday to present his controversial programme for “disengagement” from the Palestinians as Jewish settler chiefs vowed to continue their opposition to his Gaza Strip evacuation plan.
The hawkish premier began meeting with William Burns, the assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, and White House officials Steve Hadley and Elliot Abrams, at 10:00am at his office in Jerusalem, a US official said. The trio were also slated to meet with senior defence officials later in the day, he said. —Agencies