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Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre  For Thursday October 19th, 2006.

The Israeli army reoccupied the Rafah Border crossing in the Gaza Strip and two Palestinian youth were injured during clashes that erupted in the city of Jenin in the northern part of the West Bank. These stories and more coming up, stay tuned.

The Gaza Update
The Israeli army reoccupied the Rafah Border crossing in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday at midnight. This is the first time since the implementation of the 2005 disengagement plan that the army has gone this deep into the Gaza Strip.  The Rafah border crossing connects Gaza with Egypt and is the only way in and out of Gaza.  According to local sources tanks and bulldozers surrounded the crossing and took control of it and the surrounding areas.  The army has killed four civilians since the operation began on Wednesday.

Noah Maeer, an Israeli army spokes person, stated that the army operation would continue for as long as it takes to stop the resistance from smuggling rifles, explosives and anti-shield missiles into Gaza.  The Israeli Prime Minister stated from Moscow, that those operations, which he referred to as 'the rain man', will be carried out on a smaller scale. He explained that the reason behind the Israeli operations is to prevent stability in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported on Thursday that the Israeli army continues to deny patients from Gaza access to medical treatment in Jerusalem and cities in the West Bank.  Dr Mo'awiah Hassanin, the Director of the Emergency and Ambulances Department for the Palestinian Ministry of Health, stated in a press conference today in Gaza that the Israeli authorities are denying scores of Palestinians with severe health cases from using the ‘Arize border crossing to leave the Gaza Strip.  Sixty per cent of those applying for permits are being denied; 30% of those denied have died. Dr Hassanin called upon the international human rights organizations to interfere in order to allow the patients access to medical aid.    

The West Bank Update
Palestinian medical sources in Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank, reported on Thursday at dawn that  two Palestinian youth were injured during clashes that erupted in the city after Israeli soldiers invaded it. Soldiers broke into homes, forced the residents out and interrogated them.

Local sources said that at least twenty armored military vehicles and jeeps invaded the city and conducted house-to-house searches after forcing dozens of families out of their homes and interrogating the men and youth. The sources added that dozens of residents were forced against walls for several hours and many were forced to undress. Also, soldiers surrounded a residential building that belongs to the Abu Jomhour family, and occupied it after forcing the residents out. Meanwhile, dozens of youth hurled stones at the soldiers near the Grand Mosque of Jenin and soldiers fired rounds of live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets and gas bombs in return. Two youth were injured.

The two were identified as Dargham Kamal Al Sa'ady, 16, and Bakir Atef Nabhan, 14. Al Sa'ady was injured by a round of live ammunition is his foot, while Nabhan was hit by a rubber-coated bullet in his upper body.  In a separate incident, Palestinian resistance factions in Al Yamoun village, west of Jenin, exchanged fire with the army after at least twenty military vehicles invaded the village.

Fighters said they detonated an explosive charge under a military vehicle and damaged it. Fighters exchanged fire with the soldiers especially after the army broke into dozens of homes and forced the residents out, local sources reported. The sources added that soldiers abused several residents, forced them to undress and interrogated them.

An unknown gunman wounded an Israeli man early Thursday morning while he was driving on the illegal settler only road between the illegal settlements of Peduel and Alei Zahav. The 20 year old truck driver was shot in the leg while driving, but was able to make it to Peduel settlement where an ambulance rushed him to the hospital.
According to a security officer who examined the truck in Peduel, it had been hit in two places. Israeli forces shut down the area in order to search for the gunman, but until now no one has been found.

Palestinian medical sources in Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, reported that three youth were injured on Wednesday evening by Israeli military fire during clashes that erupted with Israeli soldiers after the army barred residents from entering the Abraham Mosque in the city. The sources stated that soldiers fired rounds of live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets and gas bombs at the residents.

Omer AL Taher, 42, was killed and Sa'eid Al Kharaz, was injured in two separate attacks by unknown gunmen in the West Bank city of Nablus Wednesday night. Al Taher was killed when unknown gunmen opened fire at him while leaving one of the city mosques after the evening prayers, medical sources in Rafidia hospital in Nablus reported. They added that Al Taher was hit with live rounds all over his body and died instantly.

Hamas called the attackers thugs who want to inflame infighting and that they are working for the benefit of the Israeli army. Hamas called for a general strike on Thursday in Nablus to protest the incident. Elsewhere in Nablus, unknown gunmen opened fire at Sa'eid Al Kharaz, a student of AL Najah National University and the general secretary of its students' council. Al Kharaz sustained light wounds and was moved to a nearby hospital in the city. The Islamic bloc in Al Najah condemned the attack and called it an attack on students' democracy and freedom of speech.

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, Imogen Kimber & Ghassan Bannoura.