Israeli army raids Ramallah

  • From: "Muslim News" <editor@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 07:54:55 -0000

 Israeli tanks in a street in Ramallah
Tanks and armoured cars blocked Ramallah's main roads

Israeli forces using up to 100 tanks and armoured vehicles have occupied
most of the West Bank city of Ramallah. 

Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed-Rabbo told the Reuters news
agency that Israeli soldiers fired into the compound housing Palestinian
leader Yasser Arafat's Ramallah headquarters, injuring a security man in
the chest. 

The Israeli army did not immediately comment on the shooting, but a
senior army officer said earlier that troops had been ordered to keep a
certain distance from Mr Arafat's headquarters during military action in

 Yasser Arafat

Israel has allowed Arafat freedom of movement after weeks of confinement

Israel radio has described the raid as the largest Israeli military
operation in the Palestinian territories since the beginning of the
intifada, or Palestinian uprising. 

Two Palestinians have been killed and two others injured in the
operation, Palestinian security sources told the French news agency AFP.

In a separate incident, Palestinian gunmen shot dead an Israeli driver
near the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Sefer in the West Bank. 

Monday's casualties 

Early on Monday, Israel had announced that it was lifting its travel ban
on Mr Arafat, in return for his arrest of all the suspected assassins of
Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi. 

But on Monday evening, 19 Palestinians died in clashes that erupted when
Israeli troops and tanks entered the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza

 A Palestinian man comforts another in Gaza City's main hospital
At least 23 Palestinians were killed and dozens were injured on Monday

The deaths came after six Palestinians died earlier in the day in
clashes in Ramallah and the northern Gaza Strip. 

One eyewitness in Jabalya reported very heavy fighting between Israeli
troops and gunmen in the streets of the camp. 

He told the BBC's Gaza correspondent Kylie Morris that he was too
frightened to open his windows to investigate any further. 

Some residents fled the northern communities and made their way into
nearby Gaza City itself. 

Our correspondent says Jabalya is a stronghold for Palestinian national
and Islamic groups. 

'Targeted mission' 

Israeli military sources said the Jabalya operation, which lasted three
hours, was a targeted mission to locate factories which make rockets and
mortar shells. 

The sources indicated soldiers were under orders to fire only at people
who were armed and posed a threat. 

In addition to the incursion into Jabalya, Israel fired rockets from
Apache helicopters into a facility belonging to Mr Arafat's personal
guard, Force-17, in Gaza's south. 

And after midnight, Israeli gunboats fired on a Palestinian naval
headquarters near Dir al-Balah in central Gaza. 

'Nazi behaviour' 

More than 1,000 Palestinians were rounded up in the West Bank and Gaza
on Monday, in a search for militants. 

Mr Arafat accused Israeli soldiers of behaving like Nazis in the

In an interview broadcast on Abu Dhabi television, he said Israeli
soldiers had written numbers on the arms of Palestinians they arrested
in a similar operation in Tulkarm last week. 

"Is this not one of the methods used by the Nazis against the Jews," Mr
Arafat asked. "Is this not a new Nazi racism? Is this acceptable to the
international community?"


Source: BBC
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