Israel Steps Up Terror Raids

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The Israel military yesterday continued its terror attacks on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

This followed a declaration by Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, broadcast by Israeli Radio yesterday.

This followed a declaration by Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, broadcast by Israeli Radio yesterday.

In a speech on Thursday night, he said: ‘Today we have hit Nablus, last week we struck at Gaza and before that in Jenin and we will continue to do so in every place, with all our forces and without compromise.’

Olmert, who is seeking re-election next month, was addressing a group of Russian immigrant voters in Nazareth.

His remarks followed a massive Israeli army raid on the Balata refugee camp near the West Bank city of Nablus, in which five Palestinians were killed.

The Balata camp raid was the biggest since the resistance movement Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary elections last month.

Hamas warned that the ‘horrifying’ Israeli army operation in Nablus ‘cannot be suffered in silence’.

Early yesterday, Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinians and wounded a third on the border in the southern Gaza Strip as they were trying to cross into Israel to find work, Palestinian medics said.

Suleiman al-Hamaydah and Mohammed Dukhan, both aged around 20, were shot dead in the Deir al-Balah area near the security barrier separating the southern Gaza Strip and Israel.

Another Palestinian was shot and wounded, the medics added.

An Israeli army spokesman said troops had spotted four ‘suspect figures’ laying ‘devices’ near the barrier and opened fire.

The spokesman confirmed that the man arrested was not armed.

Later in the day, two Palestinians were wounded when an Israeli drone aircraft fired two missiles at two cars near Beit Lahyia in the northern Gaza Strip.

• Saudi security forces claimed yesterday to have foiled an attempted attack by two suicide car bombers against an oil gathering centre where two blasts were heard in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province.

Dozens of security forces and civil defence vehicles were seen outside the plant in Abqaiq, 35 kilometres south of Dammam, the main city of the Eastern Province, and about the same distance from the oil hub of Dhahran.

It was the first known attack on an oil installation in Saudi Arabia.