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Senior Hamas activist killed in IDF raid on Balata * Police lift order for Gilo residents to remain indoors

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  • MidEastWebNews
    07:31 01/03/2002Last update - 13:27 01/03/2002 http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=136262 Senior Hamas activist killed in IDF raid on
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2002
      07:31 01/03/2002Last update - 13:27 01/03/2002


      Senior Hamas activist killed in IDF raid on Jenin refugee camp

      By Aluf Benn, Amira Hass and Jonathan Lis, Ha'aretz Correspondents, and Ha'aretz Service

      A senior member of the military wing of Hamas was one of two Palestinians killed during exchanges of
      fire between IDF troops and armed Palestinians Friday morning in IDF raids on the West Bank refugee
      camps of Jenin and Balata. Thirty others were wounded Friday as the operation that began early
      Thursday morning moved into its second day.

      The Hamas member was identified as Haled Jamal Nazam, a senior activist in the Jenin camp. The
      second person, who was killed in Balata, has not been identified.

      PA Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement threatened Friday to launch Kassam-2 rockets at Israeli
      cities if the IDF presence in the camps continued, Army Radio reported.

      Shami Shami, a Fatah leader in the Jenin camp, said IDF tanks surrounded the camp, and troops were
      confronting about 300 gunmen. Witnesses said IDF soldiers were going from house to house making

      "We saw a helicopter shooting at a house," Shami said by telephone. "The gunmen are shooting at the
      tanks and others are throwing homemade grenades," he said. "Others are planting bombs in the

      In the Balata camp, residents said the search operation was continuing. To stay out of alleyways
      controlled by snipers and militants with explosives, the soldiers went from house to house by
      knocking down walls between the flimsy shelters, residents said.

      Ten houses were destroyed, residents said. Suleiman Abu-Asab, 52, said 12 soldiers broke down a door
      and entered two building where seven families, including 30 children, live.

      "They spent all night there," he said. "When we returned in the morning after they left, we found
      the house badly damaged totally, much of the furniture burned and even their empty food boxes still

      Palestinian sources said that the IDF troops had cut the camp off from the nearby city of Nablus and
      had sealed off the roads out of the camp.

      Palestinian security officials said most of the gunmen had left the camp, and the soldiers were not
      making arrests. Instead, they said, it appeared that the soldiers were looking for weapons and

      Israeli officials said the soldiers entered the two camps to go after the control stations of
      terrorists who have been plaguing Israel throughout the conflict with bombing and gunfire attacks.

      "This is for the sake of our way of live here, in malls, in cities, in streets," said Minister
      Tzachi Hanegbi. "The classic strategy of Israeli military campaigns has been to move the fighting
      into enemy territory," he told Army Radio.

      Palestinians charged that Israel had escalated its aggression by entering the camps. "By its brutal
      attacks against the Palestinian refugee camps in Nablus and Jenin, the Israeli government has
      declared its true intentions," said Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo in a
      statement to the Palestinian news agency. He said Israel's goals are "escalating the security
      situation and killing a large number of defenseless Palestinian civilians."

      The Palestinian leadership issued a statement charging that Israel's government favors violence over
      peace efforts. "Our people has the right to resistance and to defend its land," the statement said.

      United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Israel should immediately get out of the camps and
      that he was "distressed" by Palestinian casualties in the raids.

      The head of the Tanzim in the West Bank, Marwan Barghouti, called for mass street protests in
      Palestinian areas Friday "against the Israeli massacres of our people."

      In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Israel has the right to defend
      itself, but he expressed concern over the incursions. "We have been in touch with the Israeli
      government to urge that utmost restraint be exercised in order to avoid harm to the civilian
      population," he said.

      One soldier, 14 Palestinians killed in fighting Thursday
      One IDF soldier and 14 Palestinians were killed in the heavy gun battles that ensued Thursday in the
      two refugee camps. Over 130 Palestinians were wounded during the raid, which was carried out with
      the backing of tanks and helicopter gunships. Two soldiers were also injured in the operation.

      U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell called Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Thursday evening and
      asked him to "show restraint" in the IDF operation in the West Bank refugee camps of Balata and
      Jenin, which began in the early hours of Thursday morning.

      Troops in the camps were conducting house-to-house searches, carrying out arrests and confiscating
      weapons. The operation marks the first time that IDF troops have penetrated the heart of Palestinian
      refugee camps since the Intifada erupted in September 2000.

      Sharon told Powell that, "The most important thing today is to end the terrorist activity. For as
      long as terrorism continues, Israel will continue to take every step necessary to protect its
      citizens and bring about an end to the terrorism."

      Palestinians also fired on Jerusalem's Gilo neighborhood throughout the day and overnight Thursday
      in response to the IDF raids.

      The two camps were penetrated by IDF troops before dawn Thursday, after an IAF gunship fired two
      missiles at targets in Balata. Palestinians reported that electricity to the camp had been cut off
      since the middle of Wednesday night.

      Staff Sergeant Haim Bachar, 20, from Tel Aviv, was killed early in the morning in Balata, near
      Nablus. Two other soldiers were lightly wounded in the operation. Two other soldiers were wounded
      Thursday evening by Palestinian gunfire in Balata.

      Palestinian sources said that fourteen Palestinians were killed in the fighting. Of that number,
      eight were killed in Jenin - including six members of the special PA police force and a 65-year-old
      man - and six were killed in Balata, three of whom were members of the Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades.

      Those killed in Jenin were Osama Jadallah, 22; Samiah Al Arda, 21; Abdullah Shaban, 23, Bachar
      Hirawy, Muhammad Fayed, 23, Khalil Habas, 19, Muhammad Al Haj, and Muhammad Al Jandi, 65. Three of
      the six individuals killed in Balata have been identified as Khalil Abu Mustafa, 30, Mahadi Onomor,
      34, and Muhammad Al Kassem, 35.

      On Thursday afternoon IDF troops burst into the home of Hussam Hader, a Fatah activist in the Balata
      refugee camp and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

      Hader, who reported the break-in to Ha'aretz, escaped from his home before the troops entered. Left
      in the house were his 65-year-old mother, his sister, his sister-in-law and his three children.
      According to Hader, the soldiers put all family members into one room and conducted a search of the
      house, emptying the contents of the closets.

      Since the outbreak of the Intifada, Hader has often called for the continuation of the struggle, but
      has stressed that he only supports armed actions "against the occupation," meaning actions in the
      territories. The IDF troops are still in Hader's home.

      08:23 01/03/2002Last update - 11:30 01/03/2002
      Police lift order for Gilo residents to remain indoors

      By Amira Hass and Jonathan Lis, Ha'aretz Correspondents, and Ha'aretz Service

      Police lifted late Friday morning an order to residents of the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem with
      homes facing Beit Jala or Bethlehem to remain inside, Israel Radio reported. School in the
      neighborhood was also cancelled for the day. The police have expressed concern, however, that the
      shooting on the neighborhood could resume.

      The order follows a day and night of shooting on Gilo, in which four people were wounded, including
      three people who sustained very light wounds and a 50-year-old woman in moderate condition after she
      was hit by a bullet. Dozens of houses and a number of cars were also damaged by the gunfire.

      Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert said Friday that the municipality was to erect a fence to stop Beit Jala
      and Bethlehem residents from crossing into Gilo.

      The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the military wing of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's
      Fatah movement, claimed that it had fired two mortars at the neighborhood Thursday. The group had
      threatened an attack on Gilo if IDF troops did not pull out of the West Bank refugee camps of Jenin
      and Balata.

      The neighborhood initially came under fire at around 2:30 P.M., residents reported. IAF helicopters
      fired at targets in Bethlehem on Thursday afternoon in response to the attacks.

      Jerusalem municipality finishes protective fence
      The Jerusalem Municipality has completed construction of a 90-meter long fence between the north
      Jerusalem neighborhood of Neveh Ya'akov and Dehiyat al Brid and A-Ram, two Arab neighborhoods that
      bordering it.

      The city paid NIS 100,000 for the fence.

      Following Monday's terror attack in Neveh Ya'akov, Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert announced that he
      would not wait for the government to decide on its "envelope" plan for the capital. The terror
      attack, carried out by a man from the West Bank city of Nablus who slipped into the Jerusalem
      neighborhood from the A-Ram area carrying a semi-automatic rifle, resulted in the death of police
      Sergeant Galit Arbiv.

      On Thursday, after the city announced that it had completed the 90-meter fence, the Israel Defense
      Forces said it would add another 700 meters to the structure - to be paid for by the city - so as to
      complete the fencing off of Neveh Ya'akov from all its Arab neighbors.
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