Samaritan Synagogue Damaged in Attack

ByABC News

N A B L U S, West Bank, Oct. 31, 2000 -- A synagogue wasdamaged in the West Bank city of Nablus during an attack byIsraeli helicopter gunships on a nearby building used by thePalestinian Fatah faction, synagogue officials said.

They said the inside and outside walls of the 75-year-oldsynagogue, which is used by the Samaritan sect and is next to aFatah headquarters, were damaged in the attack late on Monday.

Two missiles hit the Fatah building in a residential area ofNablus, they said.

Three machine gun bullets penetrated the main wooden gate ofthe synagogue and windows were broken.

Anger and Shock

Saloum al-Kahen, a Samaritan who is in the PalestinianLegislative Council, condemned the attack and demanded thatIsrael “stop bombarding residential areas.”

“I was shocked to see the damage inflicted on the synagogueand other buildings,” Kahen told Reuters.

The 320 Samaritans live in Nablus and in nearby MountGerizim, which they consider a sacred site. They observe someJewish rituals but do not regard themselves as Jews.

Army: Sorry About That

The army apologized for the damage to the synagogue.

“We try to minimize as much as possible collateral damage,”spokesman Colonel Raanan Gissin said. “We regret very much ifsome damage was caused.”

Israeli helicopters attacked three Fatah buildings in theWest Bank and Gaza Strip on Monday. Fatah is PalestinianPresident Yasser Arafat’s mainstream faction.

Fatah gunmen had participated in shooting at Israeli troopsin unrest that began on September 28 and in which at least 148people have been killed, nearly all of them Palestinians orIsraeli Arabs.

Palestinians reacted with anger and defiance to the Israelistrikes, describing them as “aggression against our people.”

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