Israeli shootings fuel Palestinian unrest

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The Independent Online
AS ISRAELI and Palestinian negotiators were trying last night to calm conflict in Hebron, new unrest was fuelled in the Gaza Strip with the killing of six Palestinians by Israeli undercover soldiers.

The dead, killed in Jabaliya refugee camp, were all members of the 'Fatah Hawks', the armed wing of Fatah, the mainstream faction of the PLO, which largely supports the peace process.

Some of the hawks have split recently and opposed the peace talks. However, it was unclear last night whether any of those killed were wanted by the Israelis. The killings were 'a mistake', according to Israel Radio, quoting military sources. The group was peacefully distributing leaflets from two cars when the undercover units opened fire, according to Palestinians in Gaza.

Since the September peace accords, Israel has targeted wanted militants from groups opposed to the peace process. The bloodshed is certain to undermine further faith in the Gaza-Jericho accords and could delay hopes of an agreement over new security arrangements for Hebron, including the deployment of Norwegian peace-keepers and Palestinian policemen. A three-day strike has been declared by the Palestinian leadership in Gaza in protest.