Friday, October 19, 2007

When only a gun will do: "Two years ago, an M16 automatic rifle could fetch $5,400 or more in the Palestinian West Bank. Now buyers at Hebron's clandestine gun market are asked to pay more than double. Four months after Islamist Hamas routed secular Fatah in the Gaza Strip, fears that clashes between the Palestinian rivals could erupt in the West Bank and uncertainty ahead of a U.S.-led peace conference are fuelling a scramble for guns. Dealers at the gun market in Hebron, the West Bank's most populous city, say weapons sales have jumped by up to 70 percent since Hamas took control of Gaza, while buoyant demand and supply bottlenecks due to tighter security have inflated prices. In the northern West Bank city of Jenin, every bullet for an AK-47 rifle costs 35 Israeli shekels, or more than $8. In Hamas-controlled Gaza, an AK-47 bullet goes for 4-6 Israeli shekels, $1-1.50. Militants from both Hamas and Fatah, and the powerful family clans who are often called in to deal with West Bank crime or land disputes, are driving the market, according to gun dealers and senior Palestinian security sources. But ordinary West Bankers, too, are taking no risks. "I don't feel safe anymore," said 28-year-old Abo Abdo, who sold his car this month to buy a rifle to protect his wife and two children. "Everyone is buying guns."

Indiana: Robber's victims turn tables, shoot as he flees: "A would-be robber got more than he bargained Wednesday night, when his victims fought back and shot at him as he fled from a bank parking lot. The victims were dropping off a night deposit at First Midwest across from the Highland Grove shopping center around 8:30 p.m. when they were approached by a slender man in a dark hooded sweatshirt, Detective Mark Santino said. The man demanded the money, then scuffled with the two men before turning to run, Santino said. As the man ran off, one of the victims pulled out a handgun and fired several shots. The robber fired back, but neither appear to have been wounded. Police from Highland and Schererville searched near the scene for more than an hour, but did not find the suspect. Santino said investigators have leads on several suspects."

Georgia: Customer at Restaurant Fatally Shot Man in Self Defense: "Norcross police say they're unlikely to file charges in a fatal shooting at a local bar early Thursday. The killing — the third homicide within the city limits this year — marks the record for Gwinnett County. Police identified the dead man as Juan Ojeda, 54, a Spanish national living near Norcross who officers said was a regular at Barnacles Restaurant on Jimmy Carter Boulevard. Another patron killed Ojeda in self defense, said Norcross Police Detective Jason Carter. Witnesses said Ojeda appeared to have been drinking when he drove up to the restaurant around midnight, Carter said. Ojeda joined a group of four other people -- other regulars, but not well acquainted with the man -- on the patio and became belligerent when one person asked Ojeda not to be obnoxious. Carter said Ojeda grabbed one man's neck. "Imagine a 54-year-old man putting a 26-year-old guy in a headlock," Carter said. Witnesses said that a moment later Ojeda feigned an apology, then lunged at another man and bit him in the neck, Carter said. Managers and patrons ran Ojeda off, but he returned a few minutes later around 1 a.m., gun in hand, witnesses told Carter. As people on the patio scattered, one of the men he'd been sitting with ran away but drew his own gun, police said. The patron fired once, hitting Ojeda in the head as he stood in the parking lot, police said. Police did not release the name of the patron who killed Ojeda"

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