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November 30, 2002

Israel Faces New Row with U.N., Arrests Militant

Isreali forces inadvertently shoot UN worker and Anannon demands those IDF involved be punished. What if it were Palestinians who shot the UN worker, how swift would be Arab punishment, let alone an admission of a mistake having been made?
JERUSALEM - Israel faced a new row with the United Nations over its demand for Israeli troops to be punished for killing a U.N. employee, while the country picked up the pieces after attacks on Israelis at home and abroad.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan wrote to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon over the killing, saying he "expected Israel to carry out a rigorous investigation of the incident, share its results with the United Nations and hold accountable those responsible," a U.N. spokesman said on Friday.

Israeli officials were not immediately available for comment on Saturday, but they have said an inquiry was under way into last week's killing of British aid worker Iain Hook during a clash with Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank city of Jenin.

Israel has said a preliminary inquiry showed that Hook was killed by mistake, when troops took aim at gunmen shooting from inside the compound of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). U.N. officials said there were no gunmen inside the building.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, Israeli forces arrested a commander of a militant offshoot of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction which claimed a shooting attack in northern Israel which killed six people this week.

The attack by two gunmen in the town of Beit Shean on Thursday struck a country already reeling from a suicide car bombing which killed 12 people, including three Israelis, at a hotel and a failed attempt to down an Israeli passenger plane, both in Kenya on the same day. Three suicide bombers also died.