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Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre  for Thursday August 17th, 2006.

Palestinian medical crews found the dead body of a Palestinian youth who had been killed by an Israeli bullet, while the army continues to take prisoners in the West Bank and there are 2,400 detainees in the Negev on a hunger strike. These stories and more coming up, stay tuned. 

Gaza Update

Palestinian medical crews found the dead body of a Palestinian youth who had been killed by Israeli bullets. The body was found on Thursday to the east of the Al Bureij refugee camp in the centre of the Gaza Strip. Dr. Mowiya Hassanen, head of the emergency department at the Palestine ministry of health said that the killed resident was identi0fed as Mousa Abu Bokra, 23, from Al Zawaida area. Dr Hassanen added that Abu Bokra had been killed by a number of bullets in his chest and abdomen.

Eyewitnesses reported that "the dead body of the youth was found a distance of about 300 meters from the electronic fence surrounding the Gaza Strip."  Neighbors speculated that the youth was killed on Wednesday night by Israeli forces that were shooting intensively into the region. Thursday night after midnight, Israeli troops stationed near the Kissufim Crossing in the southern part of the Gaza Strip fired several tank shells at Palestinian areas northeast of Khan Younis. Soldiers shelled a blacksmith workshop in Gaza City, shelled areas in Beit Lahia and occupied a home in Beit Hanoun.

Palestinian medical sources in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip reported that Israeli tanks stationed at the Kissufim Crossing, north-east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, shelled several areas east of Al Maghazi and Al Boreij refugee camps, as well as the city of Dir Al Balah; damage was reported, but no injuries. In Gaza City, an Israeli fighter-jet fired at least one missile at a blacksmith workshop in the Asqoula area. The workshop was completely damaged and burnt by the missile. Ambulances and rescue teams rushed to the shelled area in search of casualties. Palestinian sources in the city reported that the workshop has been shelled six times since the outbreak of the Al Aqsa Intifada in late 2000.  Meanwhile, in Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers fired tank and artillery shells at several houses and open areas.

Several residents suffered anxiety attacks as a result of the shelling as several shells hit Palestinian homes; damage was reported. In Beit Hanoun, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, soldiers occupied a houses and its rooftop after breaking into it. The house belongs to a resident from Al Barway family, on Al Masreyeen Street, near a Palestinian security post. Soldiers used the house as a military post and a monitoring tower after forcing the family into one room

The Izzeddin Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, today claimed responsibility for launching one homemade projectile towards the Eretz crossing in the northern Gaza Strip.
The West Bank Update

Mohamed Saba’ta, 20, was injured Thursday morning when Israeli army troops invaded the village of Qabatia south of the West Bank city of Jenin. Medical sources reported that Saba’ta was moved to a nearby hospital in the city of Jenin, and added that he was wounded in the hand due to a direct bullet hit in the arm.

Eyewitnesses reported that troops invaded the village from several directions and shoot randomly at residents’ homes, troops then left the village without taking any prisoners.  The Israeli army took three prisoners from several locations in the West Bank city of Tubas on Thursday. Troops invaded the city then installed a military checkpoint in the city, stopped residents, searched cars and took three residents to an unknown location.  No names have been revealed, local sources reported.

Israeli army bulldozers started on Thursday morning to bulldoze farm lands near the Beit Iba checkpoint west of the West Bank city of Nablus. Also, troops at the checkpoint stopped residents, under 35 years old, from going in or out of the city, thereby forcing a total closure on Nablus, local sources reported.

The Israeli soldiers stationed at a military checkpoint near the Ibrahem Mosque, also called the Tomb of the Patriarchs, in the old town of the West Bank city of Hebron attacked and injured on Thursday a Palestinian civilian. Lo’ai Al Lazam, 17, sustained cuts and bruises all over his body and was taken to a nearby hospital in the city after being attacked by the soldiers at this checkpoint.  Eyewitnesses said that soldiers attacked him in a very violent way for no reason. Meanwhile Israeli army forces invaded Al Shoukh an Al ‘Abu villages and Al Arob refugee camp near the city of Hebron and took five prisoners on Thursday.

Troops stormed the village and refugee camp, searched several homes and ransacked them before taking Tamer Sarhan, 24, Yasser Banat, 38, Ghassan Al Karnaz, 24, Yousif Warasnah, 35, and Saber Al Warasnah, 46, to unknown locations, local sources reported. Two children from the Village of Azon east of the West Bank city of Qalqilia were injured during clashes between local residents and invading Israeli army troops on Thursday. The clashes took place when an army force stormed the village.  The two boys injured were, Qussai Raqwan, 17, and Ahmad Huwarrei, 12.  Both sustained light to moderate wounds and were moved to a nearby hospital in the city for treatment, local sources reported.
2400 detainees in the Negev on Hunger Strike
In protest of naked body searches practiced by prison authorities at the Israeli Negev detention camp against the relatives of the detainees, at least 2,400 detainees announced a hunger Strike Tuesday morning and continued the strike until Thursday. Palestinian Detainees Media Center reported that the detainees in twenty sections in the Negev desert detention camp returned all meals since Tuesday at noon in protest to the hostilities practiced against them and against their parents. The Center added that soldiers are attempting to force wives, mothers or sisters of the detainees to undress completely in order to search them before they visit their detained family members.

The incident took place on Tuesday when soldiers tried to force mothers, sisters and wives of detainees from Qalqilia, Salfit and Bethlehem districts in the West bank, to remove all of their clothes under the pretext of searching them. The detainees said that these violations came despite an agreement between their representatives and the prison administration to refrain from conducting these illegal practices against the detainees and their families. It is worth mentioning that one young woman from Qalqilia refused to be strip searched and was deprived from visiting her detained brother. Also, residents William Hilal from Salfit, and Khaled Asakra from Bethlehem were subjected to strip searches during visitation hours several days ago. Soldiers also used police dogs during the searches, which terrorized the families, especially the children.

Moreover, the detainees said that the strike also comes in response to the recent decision to bar twenty detained imams from moving between the prison sections to conduct Friday prayers. For the first time since the Negev facility was reopened after the beginning of the current Intifada, which started in late 2000, the Israeli Prison Authorities barred the representatives of the detainees from moving between the facility’s branches. This decision could lead to further escalation in the detention camp.

The representatives are also prisoners who are selected by the detainees to represent them in front of the prison administration. The detainees said that they might take further measures if the administration attempts to take away their achievements and rights they managed to obtain through several years of struggle. There are at least 2,400 detainees in the Negev, among them 500 detainees who have been there by repeated extensions of their detention orders without clear charges against them since the Israeli Authorities use “secret files."  Secret files mean that the detainee or his lawyer cannot know what charges are filed.

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