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Fundamentalists Kill 3 Soldiers, Signaling a New Wave of Violence

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Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has voiced concern about a new wave of Arab violence in the wake of the killing of three soldiers by Muslim fundamentalists in the administered territories.

Rabin said at the weekly session of the Cabinet on Sunday that the murderous attacks would not affect the ongoing Middle East peace process.

But he did warn that the attacks should be viewed as a new wave of terrorism.

The Cabinet heard briefings Sunday on the attacks at the end of last week against Israel Defense Force targets in the West Bank. They were also briefed on an incident earlier last week in which a Palestinian deliberately rammed into two Israeli vehicles in Gaza, taking the life of an officer with the Israeli Civil Administration in the territories.

In the most recent violence, Sgt. Tomer David, 22, of Kibbutz Manara and Sgt. Lev Pisahov, 20, a new immigrant from Russia, were shot to death last Friday in an army outpost near the West Bank village of Deir Balut.

In a separate incident, Cpl. Yaron Chen, 20, was kidnapped last Thursday from a hitchhike station on the Ramallah-Jerusalem road and shot to death. His body was then set afire inside the car, which is believed to have been stolen.

Palestinian sources said the assault on the army outpost was a reprisal for Israel’s weeklong shelling of southern Lebanon that ended July 31.

It was also described as a show of force in the wake of the tough measures taken in the past year against Muslim fundamentalist elements in the territories.

AN ACT OF REVENGE

The killing and burning of the third soldier was described as an act of revenge for the killing of Maher Abu-Srur, the terrorist who late last year murdered Haim Nahmani, an agent with the Shin Bet domestic security force. Abu-Srur was killed in a clash with the security forces in Jerusalem six weeks ago.

The terrorists who murdered Chen reportedly offered him a ride to Jerusalem last Thursday evening. Eyewitnesses said they saw the soldier enter the car — which carried Israeli license plates — and then saw three young men in the car struggling with the soldier and forcing him to the floor.

An Israeli driver who was giving a ride to a soldier began chasing the kidnapper’s car. The soldier fired shots at the car, but missed.

The car was found a few hours later in the village of Beitouniya, near Ramallah, with Chen’s burned body inside.

A day later, an Arab vehicle arrived at an army checkpoint near Deir Balut. The terrorists got out of the car and shot to death the two soldiers manning the post.

A third soldier began firing at the attackers from a nearby outpost, killing one of them and wounding another. Another terrorist managed to escape.

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