Two Palestinians Killed, Over 60 Injured in Israeli Raids on Palestinian Targets

Two Palestinians were killed and more than 60 others injured during Israeli army's air strikes Wednesday evening against Gaza City and the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Hebron, Israel Radio reported.

Four Israeli gunships fired eight missiles against the headquarters of Force 17, the personal guard of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, in northern Gaza.

The attacks on the Palestinian targets took place at 19:55 local time (1755 GMT). A member of the Force 17 and a woman, identified as Suhad Sheikh, 30, were killed during Israeli army's air raids on Ramallah.

Sheikh was shot dead by machine guns fired from a helicopter while she was walking in the village of Beitunia southwest of Ramallah, medical sources said.

Most of the injured were members of the Force 17 in Gaza.

The order to launch the strikes was obviously given by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has come under pressure from Israeli right-wing groups to launch assaults against the Palestinians after a sudden wave of bombing attacks in two days.

Sharon convened an emergency security cabinet meeting Wednesday evening after a suicide bomber killed himself and two Israeli teenagers and wounded four near the West Bank city of Qalqilya in the morning.

After the cabinet meeting ended three hours later, Sharon's office issued a statement saying that the attacks were " specifically directed against targets of Force 17 leaders related to terrorism."

The statement claimed that Palestinian National Authority officials were "deeply involved in terrorism, violence and incitement to violence."

On Tuesday, two separate bombing attacks rocked Jerusalem in less than six hours, in which a suicide bomber was killed, 44 people were wounded, some of them seriously.

Israel carried out the attacks shortly after the closing of an Arab summit in the Jordanian capital of Amman, during which a final statement was adopted on supporting the Palestinian Intifada (uprising) against Israel.

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