GAZA CITY Ñ An Israeli tank blew up Saturday when it rolled over a Palestinian
mine. All five crew members were killed in the explosion near the coastal
Israeli community of Dugit in the northern Gaza Strip.
The tank was identified as an
upgraded U.S.-built M-60 tank, called the Magach-7.
"It could have been that the mine was in the area for a long time," Maj.
Gen. Doron Almog, the head of the military's Southern Command, said.
Israeli military sources said the mine weighed more than 100 kilograms.
They said military units could not rescue the crew because munitions
in the tank caught fire and began to explode, Middle East Newsline reported.
The Islamic opposition Hamas movement claimed responsibility. It was the
fourth tank destroyed by the Palestinians in the more than two-year-old
insurgency war against Israel. The other three tanks destroyed were the
Israeli-origin Merkava Mk-3 tanks.
In Ramallah Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat has pledged to
appoint a prime minister. PA officials said the most likely candidate is his
longtime aide and interior minister, Hani Al Hassan.
"I have decided to appoint a prime minister," Arafat said on Friday. "I
for an immediate meeting of the Palestinian Legislative Council to discuss
this decision and to take the needed measures."
Officials said the United States wants Arafat to appoint a pro-Western
reformer such as PLO Executive Committee secretary Mahmoud Abbas or PA
Finance Minister Salim Fayyad. But they said Arafat distrusts both of these
men because of their ties to Washington.