Hamas Terrorists Kill Palestinian
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Hamas (search) militants killed a Palestinian whose information they said helped Israel assassinate the group's founder and nine others, dumping the collaborator's bullet-ridden body near a trash can on a Gaza street where it was found Saturday.
Also, two Palestinian militants were killed in an Israeli missile strike early Sunday, Palestinian officials said.
Palestinian militants have killed dozens of alleged informants in the West Bank (search), but such attacks have been rare in the Gaza Strip, where the Palestinian security services still function to some degree. Hamas said the killing was a warning to other collaborators.
Also Saturday, a team of Tunisian doctors arrived in the West Bank city of Ramallah (search) to examine Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who is recovering from the flu. The doctors met briefly with Arafat and were expected to examine him Sunday, officials said.
The five-man medical team, including eye, ear and nose specialists, was sent after Arafat spoke by phone with Tunisian President Zine El Abdine Ben Ali, said Ahmed al-Habasi, Tunisia's representative in Ramallah.
The 75-year-old leader's health has been the subject of intense speculation in recent years, in part because of the tremor in his lips and hands, considered a possible symptom of Parkinson's disease. Last year, Arafat suffered from gall stones, and his aides denied rumors he had stomach cancer.
Last week, Egyptian doctors examined Arafat after he suffered from fever, nausea and a stuffy nose. But his aides insisted he is fine, and said he has been observing the dawn-to-dusk fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
"The president had a bad case of influenza and he is in need of some rest, but he is in good health and there is no danger," said Arafat aide Nabil Abu Rdeneh. The Tunisians are conducting routine tests, he said.
In Gaza, Hamas militants said Hassan Musallam, in his 20s, had confessed under interrogation to providing Israel with the information that allowed it to kill the group's founder, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, and nine others.
His body was discovered two days after an Israeli airstrike killed Adnan al-Ghoul, a top Hamas bombmaker and weapons engineer who had been on Israel's most-wanted list since 1990. Family members said he had been missing for several days.
Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri said the militant group is collecting information on suspected collaborators and will eventually track them down, adding that those who come forward and repent during the current holy month of Ramadan will not be harmed physically.
Israel's Shin Bet security agency runs a large network of informers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, ensuring collaboration through blackmail, offers of entry permits to Israel or money. Israel also tracks fugitives with drone aircraft and high-tech spy balloons.
Early Sunday, an Israeli aircraft launched two missiles at a group of Palestinian militants gathered in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis, killing two militants and wounding five other people, including four bystanders, Palestinian security officials said.
The attack came as Palestinians were heading to mosques for morning prayers during the holy month of Ramadan. The Israeli military had no immediate comment.
An Israeli military source said soldiers called in the strike on a group of gunmen who appeared to be preparing to attack a Jewish settlement or Israeli military target.
Since the outbreak of Israeli-Palestinian fighting in 2000, Israel has killed dozens of Palestinian militants in targeted attacks, including Yassin in April and his successor, Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a month later.
Also Saturday the European Union's foreign policy chief said in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel he hoped to send European experts to work with Egypt to help train Palestinian security forces within the coming months.
Egypt has pledged to train the Palestinians ahead of Israel's expected pullout from Gaza and four West Bank settlements scheduled for next summer.