Tags: Israeli | Army | Storms | West | Bank's | Tulkarim

Israeli Army Storms West Bank's Tulkarim

Tuesday, 21 May 2002 12:00 AM

In contrast, the Israel Defense Forces spokesman said only "a patrol" entered the town at night and left before dawn.

Izel Dein Al Sharif, governor of Tulkarim, said the Israeli army had totally reoccupied the town and the adjacent neighborhoods of Sheweike and Artah.

He said intensive heavy fire from tanks and shelling from helicopters began shortly before large numbers of Israeli army forces entered the town from several directions.

Some observers suggested that the Israeli army operation was in apparent retaliation for two suicide bombing attacks carried out on Sunday and Monday. Sunday's attack killed three Israelis and wounded 60 others. Monday's attack killed only the bomber.

The IDF spokesman's office said "a small to medium patrol" entered the town at night "to prevent the next terrorist attack."

Palestinian residents in the town said dozens of tanks entered the area of Sheweike, north of Tulkarim, and then the army incursion began. A curfew was imposed.

It was the third time within the past two days that the Israeli army had entered Tulkarim, stayed for a few hours, and then departed.

Israel arrested some 2,000 Palestinians during its recent Operation Defensive Shield and said the information it extracted from them has helped prevent several planned suicide attacks. Israeli raids were carried out on the basis of such intelligence but a military source told UPI that no one was arrested Monday night.

Earlier this week, a suicide bomber blew himself up in Netanya's market, some 10 miles from Tulkarim, killing three Israelis and wounding some 60. One of the Israelis killed was a cook at the Park Hotel who survived the Passover eve bombing there in which 29 people were killed.

In another attack, a bomber on Monday morning realized that he had been caught and blew himself up in an Israeli bus station, police reported.

The militant made it to an Israeli bus station south of Afula in the Jezereel Valley, a few miles from the West Bank town of Jenin.

But an Israeli who drove past the station thought he looked suspect, and alerted police who drove there and called him over. The man stepped back and blew himself up, Chief Inspector Yossi Hasson told United Press International. None of the policemen was injured.

Israel has begun building a fence along a section of the boundary line between the West Bank and Israel to prevent infiltration. But the Defense Ministry's Director General Amos Yaron said it could take two years to complete.

Public Security Minister Uzi Landau said last month's military raid, Operation Defensive Shield, "has not uprooted all the terror cells and terror infrastructure."

Landau, one of the most hawkish ministers in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government, added: "We shall have to return to all the places such as Qalqilya, Tulkarim [in the West Bank] and Gaza ... to bring about a fundamental change in the Palestinian Authority."

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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In contrast, the Israel Defense Forces spokesman said only a patrol entered the town at night and left before dawn. Izel Dein Al Sharif, governor of Tulkarim, said the Israeli army had totally reoccupied the town and the adjacent neighborhoods of Sheweike and Artah. ...
Israeli,Army,Storms,West,Bank's,Tulkarim
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2002-00-21
Tuesday, 21 May 2002 12:00 AM
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