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
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back