- Title: WEST BANK: Violence erupts erupt across West Bank amid Israel's offensive in Gaza
- Date: 9th January 2009
- Summary: CROWDS GATHERED AT PROTEST SITE VARIOUS OF YOUTH THROWING STONES TOWARD ISRAELI ARMY BARRIER WATCHTOWER CLOSE OF WHITE SMOKE OF TEAR GAS MORE OF YOUTH THROWING STONE TOWARD BARRIER BOY SMASHING CONCRETE BLOCK ON ROAD
- Embargoed: 24th January 2009 12:00
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA997921E2TPXRT6YJ0E4L93R0H
- Story Text: Israeli police shoot dead a Palestinian man who police say tried to blow up a gas station in the Jewish settlement of Mishor Edumim. Across the West Bank, Palestinians have taken to the streets to protest against Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli police shot dead a Palestinian man on Thursday (January 8) who they say tried to explode himself at gas station in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Mishor Edumim.
Israel Radio said police shot the Palestinian after he set fire to the gas station.
"Around 9:15 (local. 0715GMT), we got calls from the citizens that a terrorist is trying to burn the gas station, this station which you can see.
After a couple of minutes policemen and firemen arrived at the site. They identified the terrorist while he was burning the gas station and we got a report that he was shouting "Allahu Akbar," Shlomi Amar, the Israeli police commander of the Maale Adumim police station, told reporters.
The shooting takes place just hours after several rockets were fired from Lebanon, hitting northern Israel and slightly wounding two people - an attack seen as linked to Israel's war on Hamas Islamists in the Gaza Strip.
Initial fears that Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah guerrillas might have launched the attack dissipated after an Israeli cabinet minister pointed the finger at Palestinian groups.
Israel hit back with artillery shells in what an Israeli army spokesman called a "a pinpoint response". The limited reaction appeared to signal a desire to avoid escalation.
There were no reports of casualties in Lebanon.
Israel's military operations in Gaza, aimed at stopping Hamas from firing rockets into Israel, has angered Palestinians living in the West Bank.
In the West Bank town of Bethlehem and the village of Bilin, scores of men took to the streets to protest Israel's operations against Hamas in Gaza.
Demonstrators in both locations clashed with Israeli security forces.
Throwing stones towards Israeli forces, the demonstrators were met with tear gas in return.
Tyres were also set on fire on roads in Bilin as part of the protest.
In the West Bank city of Ramallah dozens of Palestinians donated blood for wounded Palestinians in Gaza.
Israeli warplanes bombed targets across the Gaza Strip on Thursday and tanks advanced in the Hamas-ruled territory as U.S. backing for a truce proposal raised expectations of an end to the onslaught that has killed more than 600 Palestinians.
Residents in Gaza described the overnight bombardment to the east of the city as among the heaviest in the offensive.
The total number of Palestinian deaths in Gaza, since December 27, rose on Thursday to at least 661 -- the bloodiest episode in decades of Israel-Palestinian conflict.
U.N. officials have said a quarter of the Palestinian dead were civilians, while other accounts put that proportion higher.
Ten Israelis have died in the past 13 days, seven of them soldiers, including four killed by "friendly" fire.
The International Committee of the Red Cross accused Israel of delaying ambulance access to a shelled area of Gaza City where it found four small children in a home with 12 dead bodies, including their mothers, on Wednesday.
In unusually strong terms, the neutral agency said it believed Israel had breached international humanitarian law in the incident and demanded it grant safe access for Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances to return to evacuate more wounded.
A European-Egyptian ceasefire proposal is being studied by both Israel and Hamas which addresses Israel's demand that the militant group be prevented from rearming, as well as Hamas's call for an end to Israel's economic blockade of the Gaza Strip.
European governments have offered to back the Egyptian ceasefire proposal with an EU border force that would prevent Hamas, which seized control of Gaza in 2007, from rearming.
Hamas called off a six-month ceasefire late last month, accusing Israel of breaking an agreement to ease supplies.
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