IDF troops kill Palestinian policeman

Army says PA forces fired at undercover soldiers in W. Bank; Kassam hit near Sderot causes damage.

Palestinian police 248 88 (photo credit: )
Palestinian police 248 88
(photo credit: )
A Palestinian policeman was killed by IDF troops Wednesday when the army exchanged fire with police in Bethlehem. The IDF said its undercover forces had come under fire while searching for fugitives in the city, and had returned fire at the gunmen. The soldiers only discovered the identity of the armed men after the incident, it said. Palestinian officials told Army Radio the army had failed to coordinate the operation with the Palestinian Authority. In the wake of the shootout, the IDF said it offered to provide medical assistance to the wounded. Meanwhile, IDF OC Civil Administration Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai was meeting Wednesday evening with the head of the Palestinian Authority security forces in Bethlehem to discuss the accident and establish a mechanism that would prevent such incidents. The army and the PA agreed to set up a joint inquiry commission to investigate the incident and, in addition, OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni said he would probe the shooting. Also Wednesday, a Kassam rocket landed north of Sderot. Several people were reportedly being treated for shock, and at least one building sustained damage. Earlier, IDF tanks fired shells on a group of Hamas gunmen in the northern Gaza Strip , killing two and wounding seven more, Palestinian doctors and local residents said. The army spokesman confirmed a strike in the area of Beit Lahiya, saying the target was a group of terrorists who were preparing to fire mortar shells. Local residents said that tanks fired seven shells toward the gunmen. Two Palestinians were killed and seven were wounded, Palestinian doctors said. The casualties were all members of Hamas, which has in recent weeks increased its mortar shelling of the western Negev. Late Tuesday night, an IDF soldier was lightly wounded when a mortar shell fired by Palestinians in Gaza exploded near his position in the western Negev. Another soldier suffered from shock as a result of the attack. Both were taken to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba for further treatment.