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Sharon's Reply to Road Map: Tanks used to
Reuters & AFP
GAZA, 2 May 2003 — Twelve Palestinians, including
a two-year-old boy, were
killed yesterday when
forces raided a
Gaza neighborhood shortly
after the release of a Middle East peace road
Residents of the Shijaia neighborhood outside
Gaza City said Israeli forces
backed by helicopter gunships laid siege to the
family home of a Hamas
activist and demolished the four-story building
after a fierce gunbattle.
Arafat told reporters the pre-dawn Gaza incursion
was a "massacre" and
Israel's answer to the peace plan presented
Wednesday by the
United Nations, European Union and Russia and
rejected by Palestinian
Israeli officials say they will not change the
way they confront an uprising
for statehood until the Palestinians show they
are cracking down on fighters
as required by the road map.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned the
raid. He said Israel acted
against international humanitarian law by
attacking the Gaza neighborhood.
He said he was "deeply disturbed" by the Israeli
raids, and that "such
actions, including reported house demolitions,
are contrary to international
US Secretary of State Colin Powell, on a visit to
Madrid, sounded a note of
caution to both sides at the start of a trip to
Europe and the Middle East
to promote Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking in the
aftermath of the
"We've got to get beyond this period of suicide
bombings and retaliatory
actions or other defensive actions that are
taken...," Powell told a news
conference. "We can't let these sorts of
incidents immediately contaminate
the road map."
The Gaza raid targeted Youssef Abu Heen and his
two brothers, all Hamas men
who the Israeli Army said had been involved in
organizing "terror attacks"
Israeli Brig. Gen. Gadi Shamni said soldiers
surrounding the house called on
the people inside to give themselves up but the
men responded with gunfire.
Hospital officials said the three brothers were
killed in the ensuing
Hamas said in a statement: "We are using a
legitimate weapon to confront the
Zionist aggression — the weapon of resistance —
and it will not be dropped
as long as occupation exists."
Ahmed Ayyad, a blacksmith, said his two-year-old
son, Amir, was killed by a
bullet to the head as the toddler stood near a
window facing Israeli troops.
"I could not help him," Ayyad said, choking back
tears at the local morgue.
"What road map? It is nonsense...the Israelis do
not want peace — you can
ask my son."
Witnesses said six of the dead were civilians,
including a 13-year-old boy
and a 17-year-old, and six were fighters.
Hospital officials said at least
70 people were wounded.
Shamni said gunmen had fired on troops from
positions in houses near the Abu
Heen home. Israeli military sources said eight
soldiers were wounded.
Witnesses said 20 houses on the Egyptian side of
the Gaza Strip town of
Rafah were damaged during the raid. Six of the
homes were left without
roofs, while the windows of 20 houses were
destroyed. The homes are located
on Saladin Street, which divides the border city.
Earlier in the West Bank, two gunmen were killed
in a clash with Israeli
soldiers near the village of Yatta, residents
Thu, May. 01, 2003
Musharraf: Bin Laden May Be in Pakistan
Ready for Deal with
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -Osama bin Laden may be
hiding in the rocky stronghold
of Pakistan's Islamic hardliners close to the
border, President Pervez
Musharraf said in remarks Thursday.
In an interview with a London-based television
channel, Musharraf insisted
Pakistani forces are doing all they can to track
bin Laden down. But he said
if the al-Qaida chief was part of a small
al-Qaida cell "he can hide
"They may be hiding in our tribal areas, but I
cannot say with certainty,"
Musharraf told satellite channel ARY Gold. "Our
army is operating there.
We have asked tribesmen to tell us if they know
anything. The tribesmen have
said they will do it."
U.S. and Pakistani officials suspect that bin
Laden and many of his top
survived U.S. bombing in Afghanistan and may have
found refuge in Pakistan's
ultraconservative tribal belt.
Islamabad insists it is determined to root out
terrorists, and this week
arrested a Yemeni suspected in both the
Sept. 11 attacks
as well as the deadly
bombing in 2000 of the U.S. destroyer Cole.
Musharraf has shrugged off opposition to make
Pakistan a key ally
in the U.S.-led war on terror, detaining some 450
fugitive al-Qaida and
members, including several top figures.
"We have arrested most of the al-Qaida people,"
he said in the interview,
which was recorded Thursday in Rawalpindi, near
Islamabad. "They were handed
over to America because their own governments
were not prepared to take them
The United States also has urged Pakistan also to
clamp down on Pakistan-based
militants fighting in Kashmir, the Himalayan
region that Pakistan has
with Hindu India for more than 50 years, and
negotiate a settlement.
Musharraf said that an announcement by Indian
Prime Minister Atal Bihari
Vajpayee last month that he was ready for new
talks on Kashmir was a "good
Pakistan's Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali
this week telephoned Vajpayee
to say he was ready to travel to New Delhi or
welcome the Indian premier
"It's a good start. We have always favored
talks," he said.
BRITISH MUSLIMS OF PAKISTANI ORIGIN WHO DECIDED
TO MAKE THE
By Cahal Milmo, Justin Huggler, Nigel Morris and
02 May 2003
Each morning, the rotund figure of Asif Mohammed
Hanif left this ordinary
house in suburban London to make his way under
the scream of jets landing at
Heathrow airport to attend business studies
classes at a nearby college.
Some 140 miles away, in the heart of Derby, Omar
Khan Sharif, a quietly
devout Muslim and respected father of two
children, would be seen walking
from his house to the Jamia Hanfia Taleem mosque
to offer up his daily
prayers. On the way back, he would pop in at a
local corner store for a
They were the ordinary lives of two men in modern
Britain – one was planning
a career in business, the other was dedicating
himself to work within the
small Pakistani community where had spent all but
two years of life.
Then they disappeared. Hanif, 21, announced three
years ago that he was
going to Damascus to study Arabic. Sharif, 27,
was last seen in Derby just
over a month ago.
When they resurfaced, in Tel Aviv,
to establish two murderous
and extraordinary firsts amid the smoking ruins
of Mike's Place at 1am on
The two unremarkable men in their unremarkable
houses had staged the first
suicide mission launched from Gaza in the 31
months of the intifada by
blowing up a packed bar, leaving three people
dead and more than 60 wounded.
More significantly, the first attack carried out
in the name of the
Palestinian cause by two people wholly foreign to
For the shadowy power brokers of Mossad, the
Israeli secret service, it was
confirmation of long-held suspicions that a
nebulous Islamic terror network
with connections from Syria to Pakistan had found
a rich recruiting ground
in the terraced streets of British towns and
For the Hanif and Sharif families in Britain, it
brought utter bewilderment
as the passport photographs of a father, brother
and son was plastered over
front pages and television screens across the
country. Taz Hanif reflected
the shared utter disbelief as, on the doorstep of
the family home, he said
of his brother: "He was just a big teddy bear.
How did this happen?"
The answer to that question lay in the complex
web of radicalisation,
deception and cunning which brought two
the son of the
entrepreneur who brought kebabs to Derby and a
business studies student from
Hounslow, to the Tuesday night jamming session at
It is a story that brings together a quiet
student who left his
comprehensive school under the flight path of
Heathrow to study Arabic at
Damascus University with a British Muslim whose
childhood had been
thoroughly Western but converted to ascetic Islam
after he went to
university in London.
Sharif, who attended Repton Preparatory School in
Milton for two years,
arrived at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport in early
April. He was understood
to have travelled around Israel before arriving
in the Gaza Strip around a
week ago, almost certainly accompanied by Hanif,
who left Syria a fortnight
ago, in a taxi.........
It was here that they possibly met up with the
militants of the
Brigade, part of the Palestinian Fatah
movement, and the al-Qassam
Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, who claimed
responsibility for the Tel
Aviv bombing. Whether the two men had met before
they travelled to Israel or
Gaza was unclear but it was only when they were
ready to launch their attack
that they appeared in public.
In the maze-like network of settlements,
checkpoints and security fences
that divide the occupied territories from Israel,
the men needed to disguise
their motives well. The twin activities of peace
activists and the
Alternative Tourism Group provided that conceit
Just days before they are believed to have
carried out the bombing, Hanif
and Sharif were seen visiting the spot where
Rachel Corrie, an American
human shield, was crushed to death by an Israeli
bulldozer. A witness
remembered speaking to the two young men with
heavy British accents.
Streams of international peace activists were
converging that day on the
city of Rafah, where Ms Corrie was killed, to
mark the end of the 40 days of
mourning an Arab tradition. If the men wanted
to meet Palestinian
militants in the Gaza Strip, they could have
slipped in with the activists.
They left their trail across Gaza. A source
connected with human rights work
in Rafah, a European who asked not to be named,
said he spoke with the two
men at the spot where Ms Corrie died last Friday,
in the dusty outskirts of
Rafah, where giant cactuses grow and buildings
across the border in
can be seen. It is a dangerous place. The Israeli
army regularly fires into
the Palestinian houses here, and sends bulldozers
to demolish them, claiming
that they are used by Palestinian militants to
shoot at soldiers on the
At the time when the two Britons were spotted in
Gaza, ATG had its tour
group, including four UK passport holders, in the
area. The company's
managing director, Rami Qasis, has denied that
Hanif or Sharif had been part
of the group, pointing out that the four Britons
on the tour had left Israel
by the time of the bombing. Indeed, it is much
more likely that the two men
used the name of ATG among a number of "excuses"
to be at the heart of
Palestinian extremism. The cities and refugee
camps of Gaza are the
militants' most fertile recruiting grounds: one
of the most crowded places
on earth, packed with young Palestinians with no
jobs, living far below the
poverty line, and with nowhere else to go.
Unless, that is, you hold a British passport. On
Tuesday afternoon, a week
after they had entered Gaza, the men passed
through the checkpoints. Around
an hour later they would have been in Tel Aviv,
making final preparations
for the attack which killed Yanai Weiss, 46, a
musician, 24-year-old Ran
Baron, and Dominique Hess, 29, a Frenchwoman who
emigrated to Israel.
Tel Aviv police said yesterday that Hanif's
suitcase had contained a
medium-sized device packed with nails and
shrapnel designed to inflict the
worst possible wounds.
As ambulances poured into the broad beach-front
avenue outside the bar,
Sharif managed to pull free of the people trying
to detain him amid the
screaming and carnage in the bar. The tall Briton
ran towards the nearby
American Embassy, leaving his coat and the
explosive vest he had been
wearing in a pile on a street corner.
Witnesses said it seemed that there had been a
malfunction with the device
which caused Sharif to abort his role in the
But it was the similarities between the two men
that were perhaps the most
After gaining a distinction in his business
studies GNVQ, Hanif surprised
friends with the news that he had decided to
study Arabic at the University
for five years.
He told one of his friends that he intended to
become a full-time Islamic
scholar and informed his brother Taz that he was
planning to return to
London as a teacher.
In the meantime, he travelled to Afghanistan,
Pakistan, the United Arab
Emirates and Saudi Arabia to "discover his
culture". There is a suggestion
that he studied Islamic jurisprudence in Morocco
before reaching Syria.
His parents, who left Britain last year to travel
were last night
thought to be still unaware of their son's death
after they returned to
their native Pakistan.
For Omar Khan Sharif, the transformation from a
Westernised existence was
equally abrupt. He is the son of a wealthy
businessman, Sardar Mohammed
Sharif, who arrived from Pakistani Kashmir to set
up a string of businesses
in the Normanton area of Derby, including a
launderette and, reputedly, the
first kebab shop in the city.
The ambitions of his parents for him were
reflected in their choice of
school. Dating back to 1557, Repton Prep School
can count Roald Dahl,
Christopher Isherwood and the former Archbishop
of Canterbury Lord Ramsey
among its famous former pupils.
No one at the school could remember yesterday why
Sharif was eventually
expelled from this distinguished establishment at
the age of 13.
He went on to attend the local comprehensive,
Bemrose Community College,
which takes 720 of Derby's most difficult
inner-city children. Despite the
change in station, and an attitude, according to
his teachers, of wilful
under-achievement, Sharif was an academic
success, and went on to university
in London, where he met his Middle Eastern wife.
On his return to Derby four years ago, things had
changed. Married with two
young children, the couple were clearly immersed
in Islam. Mrs Sharif wore a
burqa and covered her head, while her husband had
grown a beard and wore
traditional Arab clothes. In October, around the
same time that the
al-Muhajiroun group of Islamists led 200 people
through the city urging
support for "their brothers in Palestine", he
moved out of his family's
£125,000 Victorian home into a shabby terraced
house on nearby
Northumberland Street, where his older sister
Nasreen was also believed to
While his elder siblings, Mahmooda, Zahid,
Parvez, Parveen and Nasreen, saw
an Islamic tradition in a moderate sense, he
seemed to become more deeply
involved. He regularly attended a small mosque on
Weston Road just minutes
away from his home, called the Jamia Hanfia
Taleem mosque. It was rumoured
that he had become involved with the hardline
He was last seen in Derby only a month ago.
Friends, family and neighbours remained mystified
over what had transformed
Hanif from a withdrawn, serious-minded man with
an interest in politics and
religion to a multiple murderer. Most believed
that his developing concern
for the Palestinian cause turned into raging
anger during his time in the
But a friend of Hanif insisted: "He was a very
gentle person. He just wanted
to improve himself as a human being. He was
quiet, not an extremist or
anything like that. He didn't have a political
agenda, he was more into the
spiritual side of Islam."
Back behind the doors of the house in Hounslow
where Hanif had lived, his
brother spoke for many. Taz Hanif said: "We used
to watch the news and our
parents said the suicide stuff is not good. What
do you achieve by killing
yourself and killing other people?"
2003-05-03 Sat 15:17ct