Slain Palestinian Militant Should Have Been Incarcerated, Israel Says

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:10 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - The Israeli-Palestinian conflict seemed to be revving up again on Monday after an Israeli was killed and a second wounded in a shooting attack and a Palestinian militant was killed in a separate bomb blast.

A relative calm, which reigned since PA Chairman Yasser Arafat called for a halt to violence in mid-December, began to breakdown last week with a terror attack on an Israeli border post last week, in which four soldiers were killed and two wounded.

This followed the Israeli capture of a weapons boat carrying more than 50 tons of arms allegedly bound for the PA from Iran.

There were no details available about Monday's shooting attack in the West Bank beyond the report of the incident, but security sources confirmed that one Israeli was killed and a second moderately wounded in the attack.

Earlier in the day, Raed Mahmoud Karmi, 27, a leader of PA Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, was killed in a bomb blast outside his West Bank hideout.

Palestinian sources accused Israel of planting the bomb that killed Karmi outside his West Bank hideout near the wall of a cemetery.

The Al-Aksa Brigade of the Fatah faction issued a statement saying the ceasefire call by Arafat last month was now null and void. Fatah vowed a massive revenge within the next 24 hours.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said that the explosion must have been a "work accident" - a euphemism used to mean someone who dies while preparing a bomb.

Israel, which did not claim or deny responsibility, for the attack accused Karmi of leading a Tanzim gunmen cell, which was involved in numerous shooting attacks, in which nine Israelis were killed and 10 others wounded during the last 15 months.

Israel was quick to point out that the PA had told the European Union recently that Karmi was imprisoned.

"The Palestinians had been reporting [to the European Union] for some time that Raed Karmi had been imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority," the prime minister's office said in a statement.

"Thus, we are again confronted with a situation in which the PA claims to have imprisoned a militant even though this was not the case," it said.

Israel has accused the PA of arresting wanted militants only for show and not interrogating, trying and punishing them.

According to the statement, Karmi had made it clear in media interviews that he was determined to continue to carry out and expand terrorist attacks against Israel.

"We train the teenagers to carry out terrorist attacks inside Israeli territory. We train 17- and 18-year-olds to attack settlers [and] kidnap soldiers from inside Israel," Karmi was quoted as saying in an interview with CNN in August.

The CNN News Bureau in Jerusalem confirmed that Karmi had been interviewed but could not confirm what he had said.

Israel also charged that Karmi had described in other interviews his involvement in the kidnap and murder of Tel Aviv restaurateurs Motti Dayan and Etgar Zeitouny in January last year.

The two cousins were abducted as they ate in a restaurant in PA-controlled Tulkarem with an Israeli Arab associate and shot in a field. Their Arab associate was released unharmed.

The Palestine Monitor said that Karmi was the 84th Palestinian to die in a targeted killing.

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, of the Palestine Monitor, said that Karmi had been popular in the Tulkarem area. Other reports, labeled him a "legend" for his successes in shooting attacks.

Karmi escaped an earlier Israeli assassination attempt, when an Israeli helicopter missile hit his car, killing two other people traveling in the car.

In the past, Washington has criticized Israel for targeted killings. It was not clear what effect these new incidents would have on the mission of special envoy Gen. Anthony Zinni, who has been given the task of helping Israel and the PA to achieve a sustainable ceasefire.

President Bush said last week that he would ask Zinni to return to the region "at the appropriate time to keep pushing for a dialogue, to keep pushing for the process to go forward."