Arafat's trip to U.S. marked by violence in Gaza, Israel ISRAELI-PLO PEACE TALKS

September 13, 1993|By Doug Struck | Doug Struck,Jerusalem Bureau

JERUSALEM -- Yasser Arafat's arrival in Washington yesterday was marked in the Israeli-occupied territories with violence. Four Israelis and three Palestinians were killed.

The toll came from a busy succession of incidents: three soldiers were ambushed and killed; an Israeli bus driver was stabbed to death; another bus was rammed by a car carrying explosives; and one man was killed when a grenade he was holding exploded, according to police reports.

Most of the incidents were attributed to Palestinian groups that have vowed to wreck the peace accord, according to Israeli authorities.

Although such attacks have derailed peace efforts before, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has vowed repeatedly that he will not be deterred from pursuing an agreement with the Palestinians by terrorist attacks.

The largest toll came in an agricultural field east of Gaza City yesterday morning, when gunmen opened fire on an army patrol. According to Israeli radio, the driver was apparently killed, and the jeep slammed into a wall of a mosque. Two other soldiers were killed by the crash or the gunfire as the attackers followed and fired at the jeep, according to police.

Hamas, a radical Muslim group that is not part of the Palestine Liberation Organization, claimed responsibility.

Yesterday evening, an Arab man boarded a public bus that was traveling between Ashdod and Ashqelon on Israel's coast. He stabbed the driver to death, and was shot and killed by a soldier on the bus, according to a police spokesman. Two other passengers on the bus were slightly injured.

State television reported that a second bus near Hebron was fired upon last night, but there were no fatalities. A Palestinian in Gaza, identified as Ahmed al-Hadidi, 20, rammed his car into a third bus, and died in the collision. Two Israelis on the bus were injured. As his car was loaded with tanks of gasoline, authorities speculated that it was an unsuccessful suicide attack.

In the Rafah refugee camp in Gaza, a man was killed when a grenade he was carrying exploded as he tried to flee from soldiers, according to an army spokesman.

Palestinian opposition groups based outside Israel have called for an increase in violence to wreck the accord that will be signed in Washington today.

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