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Israeli-Palestinian Violence Rages in West Bank

Compiled by Selwyn Manning

Israel's armed forces today shelled a kindergarten in Betunia, a West Bank town on the outskirts of Ramallah City, with one person reported clinically dead, Palestinian security officials said. Meanwhile the Israeli press reported violence from an opposing viewpoint.

Palestinian WAFA News Agency today reported a kindergarten being shelled by the Israel Defence Force after Arafat issued a Hebrew New Year greeting to Israeli leader Sharon. And Israel's Yesha Daily News agency Reported Renewed Jewish/Arab violence in the region.

Palestinian news reports said Israel's tanks shelled the town and heavy gunfire followed. The attack hit several areas of the old town of Betunia, and more than 20 Palestinians have been wounded, among them Palestinian security officer, Emad Awad , 24 years-of-age. Ramallah hospital doctors have reportedly declared that Awad is clinically dead.

The shells also hit a kindergarten and Betunia elementary school, all student were evacuated and now casualties were reported.

Meanwhile, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat greeted Israelis today honouring the Hebrew New Year.

WAFA: On the eve of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) President Yasser Arafat sent a greeting letter to the Israeli people.

"I hope that this occasion will be the start of a new era of peace and security between the two peoples ... and to the peoples of the region. I tell you all, Shana Tova, Happy New Year," Arafat said.

He emphasized the Palestinian "full commitment to the cease-fire". "I hope that the Israeli government will reply to this message of peace and to take the decision to cease the fire too and to stop its military escalation procedures against our people, cities, villages and towns," Arafat said.

Arafat restated his commitment to meet with former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres in order to start the "full implementation of the Tenet understanding and Mitchell report recommendations" and have all the agreements signed.

But Israel's Yesha Daily News reported unease in the Palestinian sectors of the region:
13 cattle stolen from Yatir - Ranchers at Yatir farm, in the Mt. Hebron region, this morning discovered that 13 head of cattle had been stolen overnight. Police investigators and IDF trackers discovered tracks leading to the nearby Arab village of Jeniba.

14:23 Arab forces attack in Neve Dekalim - Arab forces this morning launched two rocket-propelled grenades at IDF soldiers in the Neve Dekalim industrial zone, in Gush Katif. No injuries were reported.

14:14 Arab forces attack IDF Ofer base; one IDF soldier wounded - Arab forces late this morning assaulted the IDF's Ofer base, near Givat Zeev. One IDF soldier was shot and seriously wounded. He was transferred to hospital by helicopter.

10:00 Roadside bomb hits IDF patrol near Jenin - Arab forces this morning detonated a roadside bomb near Jenin, as an IDF patrol passed by. No injuries were reported.

09:29 Arab stonethrowers attack Jews at Hizme - Arab stonethrowers Sunday night attacked Jews driving by the village of Hizme, just outside Jerusalem. At least one car was hit and damaged. No injuries were reported.

03:11 Arab forces open fire on Psagot - Arab forces opened up with a barrage of automatic weapons fire on the Jewish community of Psagot Sunday night. IDF soldiers returned fire with light arms, and later with tank shells. No injuries were reported.

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