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Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www.imemc.org, for Tuesday February 13th, 2007.

One Palestinian fighter is killed by Israeli army gunfire east of Gaza city, while Israeli troops invade several West Bank areas and abduct at least 23 Palestinian civilians. These stories and more coming up, stay tuned.

The Gaza Update

On Tuesday morning Israeli army troops stationed on the Gaza-Israel border, to the east of Gaza City, opened heavy fire at Palestinian resistance fighters. They killed one and injured another, Palestinian media sources said.

The sources added that armed clashes erupted between the Israeli soldiers and the resistance fighters in the area located between the Juice factory and the Alshuhada cemetery, east of Gaza city.

Dr. Moa’wiya Abu Hasanain, director of the emergency department at the Alshifa hospital, confirmed that Mohammad Als’eedi, 22, was killed and another person was wounded by live ammunition. Als’eedi is believed to be linked to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an offshoot of Fatah.

Dr. Hasanain added that the Israeli forces are still denying medical crews access to the area, and the wounded man has not yet been evacuated. Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes have been frequently hovering over Gaza since yesterday morning.

The West Bank

Israeli troops abducted at least 23 Palestinian civilians from several parts of the West Bank on Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning Israeli forces conducted a wide scale invasion into several parts of Hebron city and nearby villages in the southern part of the West Bank. Thirteen men were abducted during the military operation. In Hebron’s city center, troops attacked and searched houses before abducting four men.

Another Israeli force invaded the village of Kharssa, south-west of Hebron. Soldiers searched and ransacked scores of houses and abducted seven men from the village. Local sources stated that among those arrested were Khalil Al Shahatit and his brothers Salem and Yousif. They are aged 20, 31, and 23.

Dora village near Hebron was also attacked by the Israeli army on Tuesday morning. Soldiers attacked and searched the house of Mohamed Al Rujuop and abducted him, his family reported. In the meantime Abdullah Faraj-Allah, 24, was taken prisoner by Israeli forces from his house located in Ithna village, west of Hebron.

Palestinian sources reported that Israeli police abducted six Palestinian civilians on Tuesday morning form several parts of Jerusalem.

Three men were taken when police attacked and searched Palestinian homes in the Jabal Al Mukaber neighborhood in the eastern part of Jerusalem. Among those abducted was a father of three named Mussa Ibidat, aged 26. In the meantime another three people were abducted from Jabal Al Zaiton (olive mountain), neighborhood near the old city of Jerusalem.

Also on Tuesday, three civilians were abducted from the northern West Bank city of Nablus during a morning invasion, while one young man was abducted from the village of Al Khader near Bethlehem city in the southern West Bank.

Jerusalem

On Tuesday, Israeli authorities continued digging at the Mugrabi gate near the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s old city. Malaysian Prime Minister, Abdullah Badawi, called on the UN Security Council to intervene to halt the Israeli authorities’ construction works at the mosque. Badawi called the Israeli digging ‘irresponsible’, and added that he would send relevant letters to Arab leaders and member states of the Organization of Islamic Conference, asking them to exert pressure on Israel for the halting of the construction work.

Although the decision to construct a new bridge at the site was withdrawn for re-assessment on Tuesday, excavation at the site is continuing. An Israeli media source is now reporting that the excavation work is unrelated to the construction work, despite the fact that the need to build a new bridge was the initial reason given by Israeli authorities to legitimize the excavation, which started last Tuesday.

The controversial excavation has sparked Palestinian, Israeli and international criticism. Various human rights organizations have called for the halting of actions, citing that they are provocative and jeopardize peace efforts. Clashes have occurred in the old city due to the excessive presence of Israeli military and police forces, and their tactics of aggravating worshippers.

Conclusion

Thank you for joining us from Occupied Bethlehem. You have been listening to Palestine Today from the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, brought to you by Tamara Mousa Jane Smith and Ghassan Bannoura

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