Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre,, for Wednesday, December 13th 2006.|| Click here to Download MP3 file 5.2MB|| time:5m38s


Unknown gunmen kill a Palestinian judge in southern Gaza Strip, and Twelve Palestinian men are abducted by the Israeli army during morning incursions into the West Bank, these stories and more coming up. Stay tuned.    

The Gaza Update

A group of unknown gunmen opened fire and killed a Palestinian judge on Wednesday morning outside of a courthouse in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources reported. Bassam Al-Farra, 45, was leaving his car and walking towards the court house of Bani Suheila, a town east of Khan Younis, when he was ambushed by a group of unknown masked gunmen, who opened fire, killing him, eyewitnesses reported.

Sources in the Gaza strip said that the judge was known for his affiliation with the Hamas movement. He was also a lecturer at Al Quds Open University. Medical sources in Khan Yunis reported that Al-Farra suffered several fatal wounds to his head and died immediately.

Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas spokesperson in the Gaza Strip told the Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV that his movement condemns the attack and that it will do its best to "bring thse criminals to justice." No Palestinian group has claimed responsibility for the attack until the time of this report.

This attack comes shortly after four Palestinians including three children were killed and five others injured after a group of unknown gunmen opened fire at the car they were riding in Al Rimal area, in Gaza city, on Monday morning.

The four killed were identified as Osamah Bal'ush, 9, his brothers Salam, 6, and Ahmad, 7, and Mohammad Al Habiel, 25, body guard of the father of the murdered children. The father, Baha Bal'ush, works as a security coordinator for the Palestinian Authority Secret Service in Gaza city.

Barhoum added that the assassination of Al-Farra is not an attack against Hamas only, but against the rule of law, and demanded the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is in control of the Palestinian security forces, delegate authority to the government over the security forces.

The Palestinian Ministry of Interior opened an investigation into the incident.

Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip reported that Israeli soldiers reopened the Rafah Border Crossing, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, and that residents started crossing on both sides of the terminal.  Wael Dahab, media spokesperson of the Crossings and the Presidential guard units, told the Palestinian News Agency, WAFA, that workers started receiving the residents who were either leaving or entering that Gaza Strip.
The West Bank Update

Twelve Palestinians were abducted from several parts of the West Bank during Israeli army morning incursions on Wednesday. Hassan Badir, 16, and Ather I'lian, 14, were abducted when Israeli forces and Israeli secret service agents (Shin Beit) invaded Abu Dis town, east of Jerusalem, and searched houses there. The two teens were handcuffed, blindfolded, and then moved to an unknown detention camp, their families reported.

The Israeli army also abducted four Palestinian men from several areas in Bethlehem, in the southern West Bank.

Troops attacked and ransacked residents' houses in the villages of Al Asakra, Jurit Al Sham'a and Za'tara to the east of Bethlehem, in addition to invading Jabal Al Mawalih neighborhood in the city before taking the four men to unknown destinations.

The Palestinian prisoners society office in the city identified the four men as: Mohammad Hussein, 22, from Jurit Al Sham'a village; Anass Bajali, 20 from Za'tra village; Wa'el Asakra, 22, from Asakra village; and Yassen Rizik, 51, who was taken from his house in  Jabal Al Mawalih neighborhood, where he is also the headmaster of one of the elementary schools for boys in the city.

The Israeli army abducted two Palestinian men during a wide scale search campaign to residents' houses in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, on Wednesday midday. Hassan Mahfoth, 20, and Marwan Al Natsha, 19, were taken prisoner when troops searched and ransacked the houses of their families during a raid campaign carried out by the soldiers, their families reported.

Moreover, Israeli forces invaded Jenin refugee camp, in Jenin city, in the northern part of West Bank, and abducted four men on Wednesday at dawn.

Soldiers and military vehicles stormed the camp and fired live rounds and sound bombs at residents' homes during the invasion, before conducting a wide scale search and abducting the four men. Local sources identified the four as: Mohammad Al Rukh and his three brothers Hatem, Samier and Rfiqi.


Thank you for joining us from Occupied Bethlehem. You have been listening to Palestine Today from the International Middle East Media Center, brought to you by Timothy Seidel and Ghassan Bannoura.