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Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre  for Wednesday August 16th, 2006

The army kills three in Gaza and takes at least 11 as prisoners, while in the West Bank the army invades cities and villages, taking more prisoners and the Lebanese army and the UN prepare for the deployment of troops in Lebanon.  These stories and more coming up, stay tuned. 

Gaza Update

A nineteen-year old was killed by Israeli gunfire Wednesday morning, and another young man was taken prisoner as Israeli army tanks and bulldozers stormed the eastern areas of Khan-Younis, in the south of Gaza Strip. Moss’ab Kadeh, 19, was killed when Israeli army tanks and bulldozers stormed Al Farahen area east of the town and open fired randomly at residents’ homes.  Soldiers also arrested Yasser Abu Doka during the operation. Meanwhile, army bulldozers continued to destroy houses and farm lands in Al Farahen. Also on Wednesday, tanks stationed at the Gazan Israeli border shelled residential areas in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.  Panic injuries were reported.

Also on Wednesday tanks, army jeeps and bulldozers invaded the Eretz industrial zone and the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip early in the morning, taking 11 prisoners, including six members of the Al Za’anin family, local sources reported. Eyewitnesses said that the troops fired intensively during the incursion. No casualties have been reported at this time. Heavy artillery continued to shell several areas in the Gaza Strip, targeting areas east of Gaza City, in the north and east of Beit Hanoun, in the Absan region near Khan Younis and in the Al Shoka region in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

An elderly man and his son were killed in Israeli air strikes in Khan Younis Wednesday night after midnight.  The Israeli air force fired at least one missile at a Palestinian house in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip killing a 70-year old father and his 45-year old son. A Palestinian medical source at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis reported that Hasan Radwan Shaath, 70, and his son Ibrahim, 45, were killed after the Israeli air force shelled their home. The bodies of the father and his son were severely mutilated. Several family members, including children were injured and buried under the rubble.

Local sources said that Hasan received a phone call from someone who identified himself as an Israeli military officer, who then ordered him and his family to leave the house within one hour because the Israeli air force intended to shell it. Less than 10 minutes later, an Israeli fighter jet dropped shells over the home.  Recently, the Israeli army has been using this illegal strategy and has shelled several Palestinian houses in the Gaza Strip causing casualties among the civilians.

Early Wednesday morning, a Palestinian resistance group fired one homemade shell from the Gaza Strip at the Israeli city of Ashkelon. In a press release, Al Quds brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility for the attack and said that the attack was in response to the ongoing Israeli aggression against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The West Bank update

The Israeli army took four prisoners in a military operation in Al Yamon and Al Zababda villages near the West Bank city of Jenin on Wednesday. At dawn troops and army jeeps entered Al Yamon village and searched residents’ homes before taking Ja’far Samara, 22, Yihia Khamaisa, 23, and Hardan Abahra, 20 to unknown locations, eyewitnesses reported .

Meanwhile another force stormed Al Zababda village and took Ahmad Saeed, 25 to an unknown location after searching his family’s home and ransacking their belongings, local sources reported. The sources added that before the troops left the village they attacked and beat up two children identified as Assef Saleh, 16, and Mohamed Abed, 15.

Also on Wednesday morning Fikree Abu Al Hija, 27, from Nor-Shames refugee camp east of the West Bank city of Tulkarem was taken prisoner by Israeli army soldiers. Eyewitnesses reported that Abu Al Hija, who works as a Palestinian police officer in the city, was stopped at a military checkpoint near the city. Soldiers stopped his car, searched it and took him to an unknown location.

An Israeli army force invaded the village of Al Khader south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem Wednesday at dawn and took one prisoner. The man, identified as Mo’aiad Da’do’e, 28, was taken to an unknown location when troops stormed his house and ransacked his family belongings, eyewitnesses reported.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army conducted a wide scale search campaign to residents’ homes in Yatta town near the West Bank city of Hebron and took four prisoners from the city on Wednesday morning. The campaign targeted houses in the town’s central areas. Residents said that in all houses searched the soldiers violently forced the families out and ransacked their belongings and when asked about their reasons for doing so, the soldiers said "We are looking for wanted people".

Israeli army border police officers attacked Atta Abu Farah, 42, and injured him while he was going to his work in Israel on Wednesday.  Abu Farah, who lives in Soref near the West Bank city of Hebron, sustained bruises and cuts all over his body and was moved to a nearby hospital for treatment.  The officers justified the attack because the man had no permit to work in Israel. 

The Lebanon Update

The Lebanese army and the United Nations are preparing for the deployment of troops to south of the Litani River in an attempt to enforce the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah. Lebanon is preparing to deploy 15,000 troops to the south on Thursday, while the United Nations plans to send 3,500 international peacekeepers within the next 10 to 14 days. 

The United Nations authorized the deployment of up to 15,000 UN peacekeepers in conjunction with 15,000 Lebanese troops, including possible contributions from France and several other European Union nations, Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia. However, UN officials have stated that there have been no confirmed offers of troops from any country.

The plan is for UN peacekeepers to take control of south Lebanon while Israel pulls its army out, and eventually hand over control to the Lebanese forces. This will be followed by the implementation of a September 2004 resolution, calling for the disarmament of Hezbollah, to be carried out by Lebanese troops with the help of the UN. However, the defense minister of Lebanon, Elias al-Murr, said the army would not disarm Hezbollah.

This plan comes after the UN-brokered ceasefire agreement, which began Monday morning after 34 days of fighting and over 1,110 deaths, most of them Lebanese civilians.


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 & Ghassan Bannoura