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Sunday, February 29, 2004

Funerals again

In BeerSheva

Relatives and friends of Rima Novikov and Eitan Kukobi mourn in front
of their coffins during their funeral in the Israeli southern city of Beer
Sheva February 29, 2004. A Palestinian gunman shot and killed Rima
and her husband Eitan, who were traveling in a car on a highway in
southern Israel, close to the boundary with the West Bank Friday, an
Israeli army spokesman said. REUTERS/Nir Elias

The mother of Rima Novikov (R) holds the coffin of her daughter during
her funeral in the Israeli southern city of Beer Sheva February 29, 2004.

According to Arutz Sheva: Eitan immigrated from the former Soviet Union 17 years ago, while Rima made aliyah from the same area ten years later. They were buried this afternoon in a Be'er Sheva cemetery. Eitan's sister Tasia Levine said that she and her husband would not let the newly-orphaned Michelle suffer, and that they would adopt and raise her. Eitan and Rima are the 22nd couple to have been murdered in the three-and-a-half year Oslo War, which has left a total of 35 children without either parent. All of the orphans have been adopted by relatives.

And in Gaza
AFP: Jihad vows revenge as thousands mourn victims of Israeli air strike

A senior Islamic Jihad leader warned Israel to expect revenge attacks as thousands attended the funeral of one of the Palestinian group's military chiefs killed in an Israeli air strike.

More than 4,000 Palestinians turned out to pay their last respects to Mahmud Jouda, 30, as his body was taken in a cortege from Gaza City to the nearby Jabalya refugee camp.

Senior Islamic Jihad leader Abdullah al-Shami told mourners by loudspeaker in Gaza that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was stepping up deadly operations against armed groups in the lead-up to a planned withdrawal of most of the Jewish settlements in Gaza.

"Sharon and the Israeli Zionists are trying to perpetrate more and more massacres and crimes before implementation of his plan to withdraw from Gaza," he said.

"Islamic Jihad and the resistance will pay a bloody price of this withdrawal but Israel cannot kill our movement and the Al-Quds Brigades will deliver a strong answer to the Israeli assassination crimes in any place. . . "

Another Jihad follower told the crowds via loudspeaker that "the wall will not prevent us from carrying out more attacks," in reference to the controversial West Bank barrier Israel is building.

Another speaker warned Israel's Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz that targeted killing operations as seen in Gaza would not bring the group to heel. "Mofaz, you should know this attack will not stop our operations."

Dozens of masked gunmen joined the funeral processions, firing shots into the air.

Islamic Jihad militants march during the funeral of three Palestinians
killed in an earlier missile strike on February 29, 2004 in Gaza.
Photo by Mohammed Salem/Reuters

Palestinian women relatives of Mahmud Jouda, a top leader of
Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Jihad, shout anti-Israeli
during his funeral in Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza
City. AFP/Mohammed Abed