Sun, Jul 25, 2004 - Page 6 News List

Israel kills corpse abuser

'NO FORGIVENESS'A missile hit a Subaru in a crowded Gaza street, ending Israel's search for a man who showed a soldier's head after a bombing that killed five others

AP , JERUSALEM

An Israeli peace activist shouts beside an Israeli soldier during a protest against Israel's security barrier at an Israeli army checkpoint near Ramallah on Friday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

After a two-month search, Israel has taken vengeance on a Palestinian militant believed to have jubilantly displayed the severed head of an Israeli soldier, killing him with a helicopter-launched missile.

The helicopter attack in Gaza that killed Hazem Rahim and another militant late Thursday partly fulfilled a pledge by the Israeli army chief to "show no forgiveness" to the men who gloated over the corpses of six Israeli soldiers in May and held the body parts for ransom.

The missile pulverized a white Subaru driving through the crowded Zeitoun district of Gaza City. The Islamic Jihad organization identified them as its members, and the Israeli army said at least one of them was involved in the deadly roadside bombing.

The May 11 incident was one of the more gruesome in the recent conflict in Gaza: the bomb shattered an armored personnel carrier transporting explosives, scattering the remains of the six soldiers.

Militants paraded through the streets with body parts. Video footage flashed on Arab television showed two masked Islamic Jihad activists displaying the head of an Israeli soldier on a table.

Israeli security officials say they believe Rahim was one of the men in the video. He was known to be involved in the negotiations for the return of the remains, initially demanding the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange.

Rahim's name was on an Israeli list of Palestinians to be hunted down for desecration of the soldiers' bodies, the officials said on condition of anonymity.

Also on Friday, Palestinian witnesses said a teenager in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip was killed by militants in an argument when he tried to stop them from planting a weapon near his house targeting Israeli patrols. Palestinian officials said the man was killed by Israeli gunfire.

Israel's relations with the EU plunged further with a warning from the regional group's foreign policy chief, Javiar Solana, that Europeans cannot be ignored in Mideast diplomacy.

Solana's two-day visit to Israel turned frosty after the EU voted as a bloc for a resolution in the UN General Assembly demanding that Israel dismantle the barrier it is building in the West Bank and compensate Palestinians for land that has been confiscated.

In a meeting with Solana on Thursday, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the European vote would make it difficult for Israel to involve the EU in the peace process.

But Solana fired back that the Europeans will remain involved.

Europe "is a very important international power and is going to play a role whether you like it or not," he said on Friday.

Meanwhile, an Israeli court cleared the way for the deportation of an American Jewish member of the International Solidarity Movement, an organization that tries to protect Palestinians from Israeli military operations.

Jamie Spector, 32, a social worker from San Francisco, lost an appeal against an order barring her entry into Israel, and was to be deported early yesterday, said her lawyer, Gaby Lasky.

The decision came just two days after a judge overturned a similar ban against a member of the same organization on the condition that she not engage in political activity.

Two members of the group were killed by Israeli military personnel last year, with one woman crushed by a bulldozer as she opposed the army's destruction of Palestinian homes.

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