Leading Palestinian militant killed in car explosion

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The Independent Online

A Palestinian militia leader was killed in an explosion in a West Bank town on Monday, and Palestinian security officials accused Israel of detonating the bomb.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

The militia leader, Raed Karmi, has admitted involvement in shooting attacks on Israelis, including the killings of two Tel Aviv restaurant owners last year in the West Bank town of Tulkarem.

Karmi was the Tulkarem leader of the Tanzim militia, a group of gunmen linked to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement.

Israel has killed dozens of suspected Palestinian militants – and a number of bystanders – in targeted attacks in the past 16 months of fighting.

In September, Karmi narrowly escaped death when Israeli helicopters fired missiles at his car, killing two passengers.

Israel suspended targeted killings after Arafat declared on December 16 that he would work hard to prevent attacks on Israelis. In the past, killings of Palestinian militants have triggered revenge attacks and further Israeli reprisals.

Karmi was walking in the streets of Tulkarem on Monday when an explosion went off, Palestinian security officials said. Residents carried his body through the streets and chanted "revenge, revenge" while gunmen shot in the air.

Palestinian security officials blamed Israel for Karmi's death.