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Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre for Monday September 25th, 2006

Several Israeli army tanks and bulldozers stormed Al Farahien and 'Abassan Al Kobra areas near Khan-Younis south of the Gaza Strip and the Rafah crossing was closed again after three days of operating. In the West Bank today, the Israeli military court ruled that eighteen Palestinian legislators are to remain imprisoned.  These stories and more coming up stay tuned.

The Gaza Update

Several Israeli army tanks and bulldozers stormed Al Farahien and 'Abassan Al Kobra areas near Khan-Younis south of the Gaza Strip on Monday morning.  Israeli tanks and bulldozers entered one hundred meters deep into the area and started to bulldoze farmlands that belonged to the residents.

Monday afternoon, a Palestinian resistance group open fired at Israeli soldiers during an army invasion to Al Maghazi area in central Gaza Strip. The Al Qassam brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, claimed responsibility for the attack, and said that its fighters will continue to fight the invading forces.

Elsewhere in the Gaza Strip, the Rafah border crossing that leads to Egypt was closed again on Monday after three days of operating.  This happened after European monitors at the crossing had left their positions, which contradicts an agreement between the Palestinians and Israelis that requires the presence of European monitors at the Rafah border crossing.

At least 11,000 Palestinians were able to leave through the crossing in the last three days.  The crossing had been closed for three weeks, leaving thousands of Palestinian residents trapped at the borders, which lead to the death of several people, including children.  Rafah crossing is the only road out of Gaza, which is a virtual prison due to continued Israeli sieges and closures.

The West Bank Update

Nasser Al Khedirat, 24, was taken to an unknown location during an Israeli army incursion to Al Thahria town south of the West Bank city of Hebron on Monday morning. Several army vehicles entered the town in the early hours of the morning, surrounded the home of Al Khedirat, searched it and took him away. Eyewitnesses said that soldiers also searched and ransacked several additional homes in the town before finally leaving. 

In the meantime, an Israeli military court ruled on Monday that eighteen Palestinian legislators from the ruling Hamas party will remain imprisoned until their trial is over and a verdict is passed. The decision came after the military prosecutor's office appealed a court decision to free the lawmakers. 

The Israeli court said in its ruling that “it will not allow senior officials of a terrorist organization to hide behind their ranks,” the Israeli online daily Haaretz reported. Dr. Aziz Dweik, the detained head of the Palestinian Legislative Council said that this decision is political. After resistance fighters abducted an Israeli soldier on June 25th, Israeli troops arrested Hamas lawmakers and cabinet ministers.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, Israeli soldiers stationed around the illegal settlement of Har-Humaa, which separates the West Bank city of Bethlehem from Jerusalem, open fired Monday afternoon at three Palestinian workers and took prisoner one of them after chasing the three for some time. A solider open fired at the three workers who tried to run away. When soldiers chased them, army jeeps and troops stormed the areas of the city close to the settlement and managed to capture one who was handcuffed and taken to an unknown location. The remaining two managed to escape, local sources reported.

Army sources reported that soldiers chased the three workers because they did not stop when solders shouted at them while they jumped over the electric barbed- wire fence and ran away. No names have been issued at the time of this report.

On Sunday, Israeli forces surrounded the Grand Mosque during evening prayers in Al-Khader village, near Bethlehem, and arrested worshippers as they left the mosque.  Three were injured in the ensuing clashes. Soldiers held worshippers against stone walls and checked Id cards just after they finished evening prayers, which constituted the second day of the holy month of Ramadan.  Many villagers responded by throwing rocks and empty bottles at the soldiers, who then open fired at the group, critically injuring three young Palestinian boys.

The injured, were immediately taken to the Beit Jala / Al Houssein Government Hospital.  Fourteen year old Ghassan Imad Salah is in critical condition after undergoing hours of surgery last night after being shot in the abdomen, which splintered into his chest. Fourteen year old Ramzi Salah Rizak was severely injured in the foot and fifteen year old Khaled Fawas Salah sustained light to moderate injuries.


Thank you for joining us from Occupied Bethlehem. You have been listening to Palestine Today from the International Middle East Media Centre, brought to you by Caysha Cay & Ghassan Bannoura.