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March 08, 2004 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-08

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2A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 8, 2004


Israeli troops kill 14 in Gaza raid NEWS IN BRIEF

- Israeli troops carried out their deadliest raid in
Gaza in 17 months yesterday, part of a surge of
bloodshed ahead of a possible Israeli withdrawal
from the coastal strip.
Fourteen Palestinians were killed and 81
wounded in more than six hours of fighting on
the edge of the Bureij refugee camp.
The battle pitted Palestinians armed with
assault rifles, anti-tank missiles and grenade
launchers against Israeli troops firing from heli-
copters, tanks and rooftop sniper positions. Chil-
dren chased tanks, throwing stones. Among the
dead were three boys, ages 8, 12 and 15.
The Israeli military said the purpose of the raid
was to put Palestinian militants on the defensive
and prevent them from carrying out attacks on
Israelis. But residents of Bureij said soldiers did
not try to make arrests or search for arms caches.
The Palestinian Authority denounced the raid
as "state terrorism" and urged the international
community to intervene. Palestinians said Israeli
soldiers were trying to draw out militants in what
appeared to be a new tactic.
Armed groups routinely exhort their members
over mosque loudspeakers to confront approaching
Israeli troops, despite vastly inferior weapons and
considerable risk. Yesterday was no exception.
After the battle, a militant leader took the high-
ly unusual step of appealing to his forces not to
fall into the trap again.
"The Palestinian people are now uniting in the
trenches of resistance," said Islamic Jihad leader
Mohammed al-Hindi, "but we also call on the
sons of the resistance not to be dragged into bat-
tles forced upon us by the (Israeli) occupation."
Yesterday's fighting was part of a recent rise in
violence that has been attributed to Israeli Prime

Minister Ariel Sharon's proposal to withdraw
from most, if not all, of Gaza and parts of the
West Bank if there is no progress toward peace in
coming months.
Each side seems to be positioning itself to
claim a withdrawal as a victory - Israel by
pounding the militants hard before a pullout, and
the armed groups by stepping up attacks to create
the impression they are chasing the Israelis out.
In the past week, Israeli helicopter gunships
have struck twice, killing six militants and a boy in
missile attacks in Gaza City. On Saturday, three
militant Palestinian groups sent bomb-laden jeeps
in a suicide mission aimed at blowing up an Israeli
checkpoint on the edge of Gaza. Six Palestinians
were killed in the blasts and exchanges of fire.
The raid was the deadliest in Gaza since Octo-
ber 2002, when 19 Palestinians were killed in an
Israeli operation in the Khan Younis refugee camp.
The dead - 10 militants and four civilians -
were given a joint funeral. Tens of thousands of
Palestinians marched in the streets, and masked
Hamas militants pledged revenge. Hamas has
carried out dozens of suicide bombings against
Israelis during 41 months of conflict.
One Hamas gunman told mourners the mili-
tants are sending a message to Sharon that "we
are ready for confrontation."
Avi Pazner, an Israeli government spokesman,
said such raids help save Israeli lives. "Terrorism
is pouring out of this refugee camp, and we have
to stop it," Pazner said of Bureij.
There are concerns that an Israeli withdrawal
from Gaza could push the crowded, impoverished
territory into chaos. Already, rival groups are
vying for power, as the Palestinian Authority has
lost much of its influence, and attacks on Pales-
tinian officials are on the increase.

Gunfire kills 4 Haitians, journalist at protest
Gunmen opened fire yesterday on thousands of unarmed demonstrators calling
for the prosecution of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, killing four protesters and a foreign
journalist in the worst attack since the Haitian president's fall.
U.S. Marines returned fire - the first known armed action by U.S. forces sent
to stabilize the country - but angry survivors accused the Marines and their
French colleagues of not doing enough to prevent the attack.
Blood slicked the floors of a hospital where victims were rushed. Women screamed
and men cried as the few doctors tried to treat the injured with little medication.
A French Air Force helicopter made a dramatic landing on the road in front of
the private Canape Vert Hospital, and two men descended to wheel a gurney of
emergency medical supplies to the gate. Most of the victims were in serious con-
dition with wounds from assault rifles, said surgeon Ronald Georges.
Several witnesses said they saw Aristide militants open fire from across the
vast Champs de Mars plaza as thousands gathered in front of the presidential
National Palace. U.S. Marine Maj. Richard Crusan said it was unclear who the
gunmen were.
Shite leaders OK Iraqi interim constitution
Iraq's most powerful cleric signaled to Shiite leaders that he won't object to
an interim constitution, clearing the way for the charter to be signed today
without changes.
The agreement, key to U.S. plans to hand power to Iraqis, comes after talks
between Iraqi Governing Council members and Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-
Sistani, who had reservations about giving Iraq's Kurdish minority too much power.
Shiite politicians, who days earlier had refused to sign the constitution because
of al-Sistani's opposition to certain clauses, said after talks with the cleric yester-
day that they would sign the document unchanged.
Hours later, at least seven rockets exploded in central Baghdad, five of them hit-
ting the al-Rasheed Hotel which houses members of the U.S.-led coalition. At
SAP PHOTO least one person was injured, the U.S. military said.
The hotel also is near the Baghdad Convention Center, where Iraqi politicians
had planned to sign the interim constitution on Friday. It was unclear whether the
attack was an attempt to disrupt another signing ceremony.

Israeli troops battled hundreds of Palestinian gunmen
yesterday, killing 10 militants and four civilians in the
deadliest Gaza raid in 17 months.



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Three stil missing in
water taxi accident
The Navy reservists whose quick
work helped save 21 people aboard a
water taxi that capsized described the
horrific scene in which they made their
rescue: survivors clinging to the over-
turned vessel in frigid, choppy water
pounded by rain, telling them more
were trapped below.
A 60-year-old woman was killed in
Saturday's accident in Baltimore Harbor
and three people, including a 6-year-old
boy, were missing, but the reservists said
yesterday theyiwere relieved the lossaof
life wasn't even greater.
The sailors rushed to the scene after
seeing the boat in trouble. After passen-
gers clinging to the water taxi told them
others were trapped underneath, the
rescuers used a ramp on their troop
landing ship to lift the water taxi partly
out of the water, Petty Officer Jeffrey
King said.
First gay Episcopal
bishop takes office
With three mighty thumps on the
church door yesterday, V Gene Robin-
son knocked and was welcomed into St.
Paul's sanctuary, where he officially
became the Episcopal Church's first

openly gay bishop.
Yesterday's investiture ceremony does
not carry the same weight as Robinson's
consecration, which rocked the Episco-
pal Church in November. But it gave a
capacity crowd of more than 700 the
chance to welcome the new leader of the
Diocese of New Hampshire with
whoops, cheers and a standing ovation.
Bells rang out from the church tower.
"Journeys of faith, you know, are a
risky business," Robinson said during
his sermon. "God is always calling us
out of our comfort zones."
Stewart's attention to
detail swayed jurors
Jurors who convicted Martha Stewart
of lying about a stock sale said they
believed the key prosecution witnesses
against the homemaking guru and were
surprised that her team didn't mount a
more aggressive defense.
They also said Stewart's reputation as
a stickler for detail belied her claim that
she didn't remember receiving a message
from her broker warning her the price of
a stock she held was about to fall.
"That wasn't really believable. 'Cause
this is a woman who pays attention to
details," juror Rosemary McMahon told
Dateline NBC in an interview with six
jurors scheduled to air yesterday.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports


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