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Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre for Tuesday October 31st, 2006.

Two resistance fighters and one civilian are killed, three residents are injured in Khan Younis and Israeli Troops detain Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs and two of his aides. These stories and more coming up, stay tuned.

The Gaza update

Two Palestinian resistance fighters from Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, and one civilian were killed and seven residents were injured during an army operation in Khuza'a village, east of Khan Younis city, south of the Gaza Strip, on Tuesday morning. Medical sources in the city of Khan Younis reported that Mohamed Al Najar was killed after being hit in the chest with several bullets, while Shadi Al Najar died after being hit in the head. Security sources said the two were shot by Israeli snipers stationed on the roofs of residents' homes. The third was identified as Zaki Al Najar.

The invasion began when at least 20 armored vehicles and tanks stormed Khaza'a village, near the Gaza Israeli border. Helicopters opened fire at residents' homes and farmlands, providing aerial coverage for the ground forces, eyewitnesses reported. Eyewitnesses added that soldiers broke into dozens of homes, searched and ransacked them, then occupied the rooftops and turned them into sniper towers

The Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, reported that one of its groups fired homemade shells at an Israeli troop-carrier and a bulldozer, damaging it completely. The Brigades vowed to continue armed resistance against any Israeli attacks on the residents of Gaza. This ongoing military offensive started shortly after Israeli media sources reported that Israeli Chief of Staff Dan Halutz gave the green light for the Israeli military to conduct wide scale operations in the Gaza Strip.

Earlier on Monday late at night the Israeli air force shelled a Palestinian house that belongs to a member of the Executive Force of the Ministry of Interior in Bani Soheila area, east of Khan Younis in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Palestinian security sources in the Gaza Strip reported on Monday night that the Spanish aid worker who was abducted earlier in Gaza by unknown gunmen was released.  The officials said that Roberto Vila, 34, who works with the Spanish charity group, Cooperation Assembly for Peace, was unconditionally released by the gunmen.

The West Bank Update

Israeli soldiers detained on Tuesday afternoon the Palestinian Minister of Detainees, Wasfi Qabha, and two of his aides at the Betunia checkpoint, west of Ramallah in the northern part of the West Bank. Qabha was detained as he joined several residents who gathered peacefully awaiting the release of a two-year old child, named Aisha Al Holadly, and her mother at the Ofer Israeli detention facility. Etaf Oleyyan, the mother of Aisha, is under administrative detention orders and her husband Waleed Al Hodaly is a freed detainee.
Waleed, the minister and several other residents also gathered near Ofer awaiting an Israeli response to an appeal filed by Etaf against renewing her administrative detention order for the third time, and demanding to be freed with her infant.

Israeli troops approached the gathering, asked people for the Palestinian minister and then detained him and two of his aides, eyewitnesses said.  Israeli troops took Qabha and his aides aside, pulled their ID cards and investigated them. The Palestinian Minister was released a couple of months ago after being held in Israeli prisons along with a dozen Hamas-affiliated ministers and lawmakers who were taken prisoner during an Israeli campaign of arrests against Hamas officials.

The Israeli army invaded the cities of Tubas, Jenin and the nearby village of Tammoun, in the northern part of the West Bank and took three residents prisoner on Tuesday morning. The Israeli army invaded Tubass city in the northern West Bank during the early morning hours and installed several checkpoints in and around the city. Soldiers stopped and searched civilian cars and checked residents' ID cards, eyewitnesses reported. In the meantime, Nabeh Bani Odah from Tubas was taken prisoner while crossing the Israeli military checkpoint between Tubass and the nearby Tulkarem city.

Bani Odah works as a security officer in the Palestinian Authority security forces in Tubass. Also on Tuesday morning, local sources in the village of Tammoun, north of Tubass city in the West Bank, reported that soldiers stationed at a military checkpoint at the Tulkarem Tubas road took prisoner Abdullah Abdul-Walli, 30.

The sources added that he works as a Palestinian police officer in the West Bank city of Jenin. Israeli forces invaded the refugee camp located in Jenin on Tuesday morning, opened fire at residents' houses and searched and ransacked a number of them before taking Ahmad Abu Khalifa, 35, to an unknown location, local sources reported.

Israeli soldiers attacked and ransacked Palestinian shops in the old city of the West Bank city of Hebron and took prisoner one resident on Tuesday morning.
Ali Al Karaki was taken prisoner after troops attacked and searched his shop in the old city of Hebron. Soldiers said they took him because they found fire works and crackers in his shop. In the meantime, the Israeli army increased its soldiers in the old city and surrounded neighborhoods where illegal settlers live by installing road blocks and temporary military checkpoints.

On Tuesday afternoon the Israeli forces took two brothers prisoner after attacking residents' houses and ransacking them in the West Bank city of Hebron. The two were known as Firass Al Ja'bari, 14, and his brother Arafah, 11. Their father reported that both were taken to unknown locations.


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.