Worthy Christian News » Israel-Palestinian Conflict » Ceaseless Intifada Brings More Casualties On Both Sides
ICEJ NEWS - 08/22/2001
There were steady bouts of Palestinian shooting, mortar and bombing attacks since last Friday, with at least seven Israelis wounded and 13 Palestinians reportedly killed and scores more injured in "work accidents" or Israeli pre-emptive strikes and return fire.
On FRIDAY, heavy gun battles erupted near Rafah, in southern Gaza. Palestinians reported that eight were wounded, some of them seriously.
Close to midnight on Friday, IDF soldiers entered a Palestinian Authority-controlled area north of Khan Yunis, in southern Gaza, and shot at a five-man Fatah terror cell. One Palestinian was killed and 10 others were wounded in an ensuing gun battle with Israeli soldiers. The IDF denied Palestinian claims that soldiers entered Khan Yunis with tanks and bulldozers and destroyed a Palestinian post. The IDF said the area had been used to shoot at Israelis.
On SATURDAY, Palestinian sources said that two babies were seriously wounded by IDF gunfire in separate incidents. A 3-month-old boy, Faras Abu Mihmar, was reportedly wounded south of Khan Yunis when IDF troops opened fire on the car in which he was travelling. The IDF denied the reports and said that IDF soldiers had not fired in the area at the time.
The second Palestinian baby was a seven-month-old boy from a village close to Nablus, who reportedly was seriously wounded by IDF gunfire. Palestinian sources claimed that Noor Odeh was travelling in a taxi with his mother when IDF troops opened fire close to an IDF roadblock. The baby was hit in the stomach by three bullets and underwent surgery at a hospital in Nablus. The IDF had no immediate comment.
Palestinians also claimed on Saturday that an IDF undercover unit near Jenin had attempted to assassinate a Fatah activist. The sources said Ahmed Mustafa Besharet was shot in the shoulder and moderately wounded by men wearing masks, in the village of Tamoun, but he managed to escape. Israeli sources in the Jenin region confirmed the operation, saying Bashart was a central figure in the Tanzim who had organized bombing and shooting attacks on security forces near Jenin. They added that he had supplied weapons to Tanzim operatives and was one of the main fugitives Israel had been seeking since the beginning of the intifada.
The IDF fired two missiles at the Palestinian security headquarters in Khan Yunis on Saturday night, in retaliation for the firing of seven mortars earlier in the day at the settlement of Gadid in the Gush Katif bloc. Palestinian sources reported three Palestinians injured in the IDF strike.
Early SUNDAY morning, several members of PLO chief Yasser Arafat's Force 17 presidential guard unit were injured in a firefight with IDF troops near Bitunia, west of Ramallah.
On the same morning, two Israelis travelling on an Egged bus - a girl aged six and a 20-year-old man - were wounded when Palestinian snipers fired shots at the bus near the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood in northern Jerusalem.
In the afternoon, IAF helicopters and IDF tanks attacked Palestinian military positions in Gaza in retaliation for the mortar shelling of a Gush Katif community earlier in the day. Two Apache choppers launched air-to-surface missiles at Palestinian Force 17 command headquarters and positions in the Khan Yunis area, according to IDF sources. The presidential guard facility was heavily damaged in the attack. Up to four PA security personnel were reportedly wounded in the IAF air strike.
The attacks came in the wake of a decision by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer to retaliate for every mortar shelling of Israeli communities. Six mortar shells fell on Neveh Dekalim in southern Gaza on Sunday, wounding one Israeli man. The IDF said that Palestinian militants had used one of the targeted PA police posts as a base from which to fire mortars at Jewish communities in the area.
An IDF officer was moderately wounded in the leg after heavy gun battles broke out in the biblical city of Hebron. The fighting began after Palestinian gunmen opened fire on the Jewish enclave from Arab homes on the Abu Sneina hillside.
Just before midnight Sunday, master bomb-maker Samir Abu Zeid, and his 7-year-old daughter and five-year-old son, were killed by an explosion outside his home in the Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza. Nine others were reportedly injured. The Palestinians quickly said they were killed by two missiles fired by the IDF.
But the IDF flatly denied this, saying at first that the explosion was apparently from a mortar shell fired by Palestinians at an IDF base that fell short. Palestinian mortar squads have been firing wildly of late, with many rounds landing in PA-ruled areas. When one mortar landed last month on the main Gaza fuel depot, a source of profit for several top PA figures, it sparked a gunfight between PA security forces and Hamas operatives.
However, MONDAY morning the IDF said that a re-examination of the matter revealed "credible and confirmed" evidence Abu Zeid blew up himself and his children while making a powerful bomb in his yard. "We know now beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was a 'work accident,'" said an IDF officer.
An AP reporter who visited the house found no evidence of an Israeli missile, Palestinian mortar shell, or other projectile, and no crater. Buckled and bloodstained sheets of corrugated iron were scattered around, and neighbors said Palestinian police had removed all the "evidence."
Nevertheless, at Abu Zeid's funeral, Hamas vowed to avenge the killing. "We have fighters inside the Zionist entity awaiting the signal to explode like an earthquake and turn the Zionists into pieces," one Hamas member shouted.
Also on Monday, Palestinians in Nablus buried Salah Zeidan, 33, who was shot in a clash with IDF troops late Sunday night. His family told reporters that he had not been involved in the fighting and was hit in the chest when he went out to his porch. The IDF said that its position on Mount Girizim had come under fire and troops returned fire.
On the same day, two Palestinians were reportedly killed by IDF gunfire in separate incidents in Judea/Samaria and Gaza. Israeli troops manning a roadblock near Nablus fired on Palestinians trying to skirt the checkpoint on foot, killing one and wounding three, Palestinians said. A full closure has been placed on Nablus in the wake of the significant number of suicide bombers who have been using the city as their staging ground.
And a 13-year-old Palestinian, Muhammad Arrar, was also shot in the chest and killed by Israeli troops in Rafah, in southern Gaza, according to Palestinian sources. The IDF said Palestinian forces opened fire with assault rifles and threw six fragmentation grenades at Israeli troops in Rafah, and that Arrar was apparently killed when Israeli soldiers returned fire. The IDF expressed regret over the killing or wounding of innocent civilians. Israel said the responsibility for such incidents rests with the PA, who permits gunmen to open fire on Israelis from areas populated by Palestinian civilians.
In addition, Port Authority security guards seized a consignment of light-arms ammunition at the Karni checkpoint between Israel and Gaza on Monday. The ammunition was being smuggled into Gaza from Judea/Samaria in a truck driven by a resident of east Jerusalem. Some 10,000 nine-millimeter bullets were packed into boxes hidden in the sides of the truck.
One of the major incidents on TUESDAY involved yet another car bomb in the vicinity of the Russian compound in central Jerusalem, an area of restaurants and pubs, a police station and Russian Orthodox church properties. This marks the third car bomb in the area in three months, the second of which scattered at least seven unexploded mortar shells within a half-kilometer radius.
Israeli security officials said it was a "miracle" that no was one injured in yesterday's bombing, which involved an Arab-owned car that had been parked there several days ago. A small bomb was placed beneath the car to trigger a larger bomb hidden in the trunk, but when the smaller one exploded it failed to set off the bigger 10-kilo charge and caused no casualties. A little-known Fatah affiliate claimed credit for the blast.
Police arrested three residents of east Jerusalem, one of whom owned a car with the same license plate number. The car had been parked there since Sunday, was ticketed twice for parking violations and even was checked out by sappers, who found nothing suspicious at the time.
Earlier yesterday, police arrested a young Palestinian woman suspected of attempting to stab a policeman. She was arrested while carrying a knife near a police station in eastern Jerusalem. During her questioning, she admitted wanting to seduce a policeman or soldier and then stab him.
Before dawn WEDNESDAY, five Palestinians were reportedly killed by an IDF ambush as they were trying to plant roadside bombs overnight in the Nablus area. The IDF said the five dead men were associated with two terror cells involved in planting bombs almost nightly along the access road to the IDF base atop the biblical Mount Ebal. Of course, the Palestinians had a different version of events, saying that the five were civilians killed by IDF soldiers while assisting in the evacuation of wounded Tanzim gunmen from a Nablus-area olive orchard.
Also last night, Palestinians threw 29 fragmentation grenades and three firebombs at the IDF's "Tarmit" outpost at the southern end of the Gaza Strip. Further north, Palestinian forces fired one mortar shell overnight at Kibbutz Be'eri, located inside Israel's pre-1967 borders. Gunmen also reportedly opened fire on homes in Hebron's Jewish quarter last night and on the southern Hebron Hills community of Beit Haggai.
Later today, two Israelis were shot and lightly wounded by Palestinian forces who opened fire on a garbage truck belonging to the Samaria regional council. The shooting attack took place near Mevo Dotan, southwest of Jenin, not far from a large IDF base. The attackers fled to an Arab village under PA control.
And finally this evening, IDF helicopters fired missiles at two cars traveling in the El-Bureij refugee camp in Gaza, killing a PA security officer, according to Palestinian sources. Fatah member Eilal al-Ghoul was killed when a missile struck his car. An occupant of the other car escaped before it was hit, Army Radio reported.
Used with Permission from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.