Listen to the audio from the MP3 Player on the right column. || Click here to Download MP3 file 7.5 MB

Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre  for Wednesday August 9th, 2006

Army continues its aggression in the wake of Gazan resistance; Rafah border crossing is still closed. An Israeli strike on the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain Al Hilweh kills at least one person and wounds 15, including 5 children, Israeli Apache helicopters fired missiles into a resident’s home in Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin killing two.

These stories and more, coming up stay tuned.

 Gaza Update

Army continues its aggression in the wake of Gazan resistance; Rafah border crossing is still closed. 

Gazan resistance fighters launched shells at an Israeli army post in the southern Gaza
Strip Tuesday evening.  The four homemade shells targeted an Israeli army post at Kerem Shalom crossing south of the Gaza strip Tuesday evening.
 The National Resistance Brigades, the armed wing of the Democratic Front of the Liberation of Palestine (FLIP) and the Al Aqsa Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah, took responsibility for the incident and said the action was a response to the Israeli army’s aggression against the Palestinian people and vowed to continue the resistance.

The army continued shelling residential areas of the northern Gaza Strip Wednesday.  The shelling hit areas in Beit Lahia, Abu Safia, Jabalia refugee camp and Beit Hanoun, local sources reported.  Israeli tanks also attacked the Khan Younis District in southern Gaza, firing at least 10 shells.  No casualties have been reported. 

The Israeli army prevented European Union observers Wednesday at dawn from entering Rafah crossing where they are stationed for their jobs.  The army cited security reasons, saying that no one was to enter or leave through the Rafah crossing, which is the only way in and out of the Gaza Strip.  According to an EU observer spokesperson, a meeting was scheduled between the Israelis and EU monitors to discuss reopening the crossing as soon as possible.  Israeli control of Rafah crossing is in violation of a November 2005 agreement signed between the Palestinian National Authority and Israel that grants operation responsibilities to the Palestinians and EU monitors. 

Lebanon Update

An Israeli strike on the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain Al Hilweh kills at least one person and wounds 15, including 5 children, early Wednesday, Al Jazeera reported. According to Palestinian and Lebanese officials, the death and injuries were caused by shells launched by Israeli naval forces. Ain Al Hilweh refugee camp, near Sidon in southern Lebanon is the first Palestinian refugee camp to be bombed by Israel since the start of its attack on Lebanon four weeks ago.  It is also the largest of the 12 Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, home to about 50,000 refugees.

Thirteen people were killed Tuesday evening in Al Ghazziya, Lebanon, while attending the mass funeral of the fifteen Lebanese people killed the day before.  Local sources reported that 1,500 mourners were attending the funeral procession, which was on its way to the town’s cemetery, when the missiles hit. The first missile dropped by Israeli warplanes hit a building quite near the procession, then, about thirty minutes later, warplanes dropped four more missiles among the mourners, killing 13 and wounding 18, according to local hospitals and Mayor Mohammed Ghaddar.

An Associated Press report said that Ghaziyeh has been targeted by Israeli forces several times, but the attacks Monday and Tuesday were the worst yet, adding that the town is currently overflowing with displaced people, increasing the population to 23,000. Witnesses said the planes may have been targeting the home of Sheik Mustafa Khalifeh, a cleric linked to Hezbollah.  Most people associated with Hezbollah left their homes a month ago when the conflict started.

And Israeli officials declared a no-drive zone in the entire region south of Lebanon’s Litani River — 20 miles from the border — warning residents that any vehicle on the roads would be destroyed on the assumption it was carrying Hezbollah rockets or supplies. The order left the streets of the region’s main city Tyre empty and civilians in villages across the south are now unable to flee.  Many humanitarian organizations have also reported being targeted and unable to deliver needed food and water to civilians who have been without basic necessities for several weeks.

Wednesday morning, media sources in Lebanon reported that eleven Israeli soldiers were killed, at least 52 were injured, eight seriously, during clashes with Hezbollah fighters in several areas in southern Lebanon. The most fierce clashes took place in Eeta Al Sha’ab and Dabal towns.

The Arabs48 news website reported that most of the casualties among the soldiers took place after Hezbollah gunmen fired anti-tank shells at their armored vehicles and tanks.  In the most recent attack, two soldiers were killed and twelve were injured, four seriously.  The Hezbollah party confirmed that its fighters killed twelve soldiers adding that the fighters managed to destroy five Israeli tanks in the morning in addition to destroying twelve tanks on Tuesday. Also, the party stated that one Israeli military bulldozer and one tank were destroyed on Wednesday morning in Eita Al Sha’ab town.  Fierce clashes are still ongoing in several areas in southern Lebanon.

West Bank Update

Israeli Apache helicopters fired missiles into a resident’s home in Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin Wednesday afternoon.

The house collapsed, causing the death of two people, according to local residents. Medical sources in the city identified the two as Mohammad ‘Eatiq, 24 and Ahmad Al Ajami, 20.  The attacked house was totally destroyed and neighboring houses sustained direct hits. 

Israeli army troops took four prisoners from Balata refugee camp in the West Bank city of Nablus Wednesday at dawn.  The four arrested are brothers from the Abu Ayyash family and were arrested after troops stormed their house, destroyed their family belongings, fired heavy machine guns inside the house and then took the four brothers to unknown locations. According to neighbors, soldiers surrounded the house and fired gas bombs and tear gas around the exterior of the house before storming it.

Nawwaf Abu Ayyash, the owner of the house, described the attack as “barbaric” and added, “soldiers left the house with massive destruction to the house and family belongings.”  The four prisoners were identified as Hani, 35, Mohammad, 28, Hussein, 21 and Jihad, 17.  None of them belong to any resistance group the family reported. 

Also on Wednesday Akram Awwad was arrested while crossing a military checkpoint near Isebet Jabara village south of the West Bank city of Tulkarem

The Israeli army arrested Faudil Dendis from the old town area of the West Bank city of Hebron Wednesday morning and intensified its presence in the city. Local sources said that Dendis has special needs and added that the army strengthened its presence in the entire city since late Tuesday night and followed with a search campaign in the early hours of the morning, which resulted in the arrest of Dendis.  Meanwhile, in Hebron a group of illegal settlers with the participation of Israeli army soldiers attacked two members of the Christian Peacemaker Team late Tuesday night in Sousya east of the of the city. Eyewitnesses reported that a group of settlers, protected by Israeli soldiers, attacked the house of Moussa Shanaran where the activists are staying.

Israeli army troops invaded the village of Fahma south of the West Bank city of Jenin Wednesday morning. Soldiers searched houses and attacked residents but took no prisoners.

Thanks for joining us from Occupied Bethlehem.  You have been listening to Palestine Today for the International Middle East Media Centre, brought to you by Jacque Shoen and Ghassan Bannoura