Tags: Israelis | Enter | Gaza | Strip | Town

Israelis Enter Gaza Strip Town

Tuesday, 26 November 2002 12:00 AM

The sources said the Israeli vehicles deployed from the settlements of Kfar Darom and Gush Katif, supported by helicopters and occupied the town, apparently the latest of a series of incursions into Palestinian communities by the Israeli military.

Witnesses said Israeli troops shouted at the 20,000 residents of the town that they were under curfew and not to leave their homes until further notice.

The news comes as a U.N. investigator arrives to investigate the fatal shooting by Israeli troops of a U.N. aid worker, and as a Palestinian non-governmental organization reported that an 8-year-old child had been shot by Israeli troops in Nablus.

The Palestinian Monitor, a Ramallah-based health and information organization, said that Israeli soldiers killed Jihad Tahsin al Faqeh, eight, on his way back from school. The boy had been with children who were throwing stones at Israeli tanks, the report added.

Israeli military sources said there had been many disturbances in Nablus, Monday, and soldiers "returned fire to the sources of fire." The army received a complaint about the boy's death but had no information of its own about the circumstances.

The boy's body -- draped in a Palestinian flag -- was later carried to the cemetery in the town.

Palestinian medical sources and witnesses said four others children had also been wounded in the same incident.

The sources at Refeedya Hospital in the town said that al Faqeeh, was killed and four others injured as Israeli troops opened fire at a group of Palestinians defying the Israeli curfew.

Also Monday a U.N. investigator arrived in Jenin, to look into the shooting by Israeli soldiers of Iain Hook, a senior manager at UNRWA -- the agency that runs Palestinian refugee camps.

The Israel Defense Forces spokesman said at the weekend that Hook was shot Friday when soldiers went to arrest a senior Islamic Jihad operative, Abdallah Wahash, who was responsible for a suicide bombing, and came under heavy fire.

According to the Israeli account, "The initial investigation of the events shows that the UNRWA headquarters in the Jenin refugee camp had been used by the terrorists as cover from which to shoot at IDF soldiers. In addition to fire from within the UNRWA headquarters, at least seven cases were identified in which direct fire was aimed towards IDF forces from an alley near the UNRWA headquarters."

UNRWA dismissed the Israeli statement saying, "It is quite clear to UNRWA at this stage that such a report of live fire from the compound is totally incredible."

The Israeli report said two solders "identified a man holding an object resembling a pistol. As a result, the soldiers opened fire toward him and wounded him. ... He passed away on the way to the Palestinian hospital in Jenin," the statement added.

U.N. officials said Friday that Israeli soldiers had delayed the ambulance taking him to hospital.

A statement from the U.N. staff union Monday condemned the Israeli military, and pointing out that this was the second time they had shot dead an UNRWA staff member. On March 7, Kamal Kamden died when several bullets were fired at the ambulance in which he was riding in the West Bank.

The head of the Israeli army's International Law Department, Col. David Reisner, said Monday that commanders are investigating the incident. It was not clear whether the UNRWA offices were marked on their maps nor the number of soldiers who fired and the distance. After the commanders complete their investigation, the Military Advocate General Corps will decide whether to order a military police investigation.

Rejecting criticism that Israel was lax in prosecuting soldiers who killed innocent civilians Reisner said the Military Advocate General's Corps initiated 230 Military Police investigations during the intifada, but the Palestinians have not cooperated.

"We are yet to receive one autopsy report we can trust," he said.

"We don't get a body; we don't get a weapon; we don't get the bullet cases; we don't get the testimonies (so how can anybody) expect us to come up with a reasonable prosecution?"

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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The sources said the Israeli vehicles deployed from the settlements of Kfar Darom and Gush Katif, supported by helicopters and occupied the town, apparently the latest of a series of incursions into Palestinian communities by the Israeli military. Witnesses said Israeli...
Israelis,Enter,Gaza,Strip,Town
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2002-00-26
Tuesday, 26 November 2002 12:00 AM
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