Three Hamas members reported killed in three days
RAFAH, Gaza (CNN) -- A man who died Tuesday when an explosive device went off inside his house in Rafah was the third member of Hamas killed in three days, according to Palestinian sources.
Tuesday's victim was identified as Iyad al Akhras, 28. Hamas said al Akhras' death was an Israeli assassination. The Israel Defense Forces had no comment.
The blast came a day after Palestinian sources told CNN that a member of Hamas was killed in a car bomb explosion. That explosion happened Monday in the West Bank town of Nablus, near offices that house Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, the Palestine Red Crescent Society and Palestinian security sources said. The victim was identified by the Red Crescent as Ahmad Marshoud.
Palestinian officials said Abed Rahman Hamad, 33 -- another Hamas member -- was shot dead Sunday by snipers at his home.
Israel Defense Forces say Hamad was a "known terrorist" who had planned a series of attacks against Israel and was planning another attack.
Hamad, who is described as a senior member of the Hamas military wing, was shot in Qalqilya, which is along the border between Israel and the West Bank.
According to the Israelis, Hamad was behind a suicide bombing at a Tel Aviv disco that killed 23 people on June 1.
They also accused him of other deadly attacks in Israeli and said he was planning another suicide bombing.
Israel radio, quoting the Palestinian security sources, said Hamad died from gunshot wounds to the head.
The sources said he was killed by Israeli forces as he stood on the roof of his house and they called the death an Israeli assassination.
The deaths came after the Israel Defense Forces approved a deal with Palestinian security officials for Israeli troops to end their occupation of two West Bank neighborhoods in Hebron.
IDF moved into the West Bank neighborhoods of Haret al-Sheik and Abu Sneineh October 5 to prevent Palestinians from firing on the Jewish enclave in Hebron and on Israeli troops.
In addition to pulling out of the two neighborhoods, IDF has also eased some of the road blocks around Ramallah.
IDF did not comment on any involvement it may or may not have had in the killing.
The killings came as hopes were rising for the stalled peace process.
Israel said on Saturday it planned to lift some travel restrictions on Palestinians by Monday.
Israel and Palestinian leaders have agreed to a cease-fire and although violence has continued it has generally been at a much lower level of intensity.
As part of the cease-fire Israel had pledged not to carry out offensive operations but after a number of Palestinian attacks Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the Israeli military would do whatever was necessary to protect Israeli lives.
Meanwhile, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was in London on Monday for talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary Jack Staw.
Straw said Britain wanted to see the creation of a Palestinian state as part of a long-term solution to the Middle Eastern conflict.
He stressed that this was a long-standing aspiration of the UK government, and was not adopted in response to the events of September 11 in the U.S.
Britain wanted to see both Israel and the Palestinian Authority adopt the recommendations of former U.S. senator George Mitchell in his peace plan, said Straw.
Hamas man killed
October 14, 2001
Muslims mark Intifada anniversary
September 28, 2001
Horror at Tel Aviv disco
June 1, 2001
Peres, Arafat agree security deal
September 26, 2001
Palestinian National Authority
Israel Defense Forces
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