Palestinians storm Bethlehem prison

Thursday 18 October 2001 20.31

About 1,000 Palestinians are reported to have attempted to storm a prison in Bethlehem in the West Bank. They are believed to have been targeting men detained for collaborating with Israel.

The incident follows the death of three Palestinians, including a militant on Israel's most-wanted list, in a car explosion in the town. The explosion occurred a day after Israel promised retribution for the assassination of the far-right cabinet minister, Rehavam Zeevi, by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

In an earlier incident, a 10-year-old Palestinian girl was killed when Israeli tanks fired at a school during a raid on the West Bank town of Jenin. Israeli forces also shot and killed a Palestinian policeman during an army incursion into the autonomous West Bank town of Ramallah. Marwan Ibrahim Sabri, aged 24, was hit by several bullets. Another man, Mohammed Abu Raz, was killed as well.

Palestinian police have arrested two senior members of the PFLP in connection with the assassination of the Israeli cabinet minister. The group claimed responsibility for the assassination.

The PFLP said that it killed Mr Zeevi in retaliation for Israel's assassination of its leader Abu Ali Mustafa last August. The Palestinian Authority has rejected an ultimatum from the Israeli government to hand over both the killers and those that sent them.

A spokesman said that if the Authority did not agree to the demands it would be viewed as a state that supports terror and Israel would act accordingly.