Army kills two Israeli security guards after mistaking them for Palestinian gunmen

Israeli forces backed by a helicopter gunship shot and killed two Israelis they believed to be Palestinian gunmen yesterday.

The deaths came as the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, delayed the signing of a bill that forces him to share power with a Prime Minister. Mr Arafat asked for two procedural changes, including keeping the right to convene cabinet meetings.

The shooting took place in the remote West Bank hills about three miles south-east of the town of Hebron.

Israeli forces were scouring the area because of intelligence warnings that Palestinians were planning an attack there, the army said. A foot patrol noticed an armed man getting into a car and, after its warnings failed to stop him trying to drive away, he was shot and killed with rifle fire.

Troops saw another armed man running from the car and radioed for back-up from a helicopter gunship that shot and killed the man.

Both men were later identified as Israelis. The military expressed regret for the killings and said that it was investigating.

The website of the Ha'aretz daily newspaper said the two men were security guards who kept watch over an antenna used for research, and that the men had pulled off to the side of the road to make coffee.

Bullets riddled a white estate car's windshield, engine grille and bonnet. The word "security" was written in Hebrew on both doors and the bonnet of the vehicle.

The incident took place on a muddy hillside road just outside the Jewish settlement of Pnei Hever, where spots of blood soaked the muddy ground.

In the past 29 months of fighting between Israelis and Palestinians, Israeli troops have killed dozens of wanted Palestinian militants in premeditated attacks.

In the West Bank town of Ramallah, Mr Arafat's aides confirmed that the Palestinian leader had asked for changes in legislation creating the post of Prime Minister. The Palestinian Parliament approved the bill on Monday as part of a reform sought by America aimed at curbing Mr Arafat's sweeping powers. The Prime Minister will be able to form a new Cabinet and supervise the work of the ministers. The Prime Minister also convenes and chairs cabinet meetings.

After two readings in Parliament, the bill was given to Mr Arafat for a signature on Tuesday.

Mr Arafat, who is President of the Palestinian Authority, has asked that the President – and not only the Prime Minister – should have the right to convene the Cabinet, and that the President should be able to attend cabinet meetings.

The Parliament's next meeting is on Monday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Workshop Deputy & Production Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A rare and exciting role has arisen within thi...

Recruitment Genius: HR Assistant

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a keen...

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion, this multi-ac...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Specialist

£21000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an e...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat