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Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www.imemc.org, for Tuesday February 20th, 2007.
The Israeli army abducts 15 Palestinian civilians from several parts of the West Bank, and removes a checkpoint near Bethlehem. These stories and more coming up, stay tuned.
The West Bank Update
The Israeli army invaded several parts of the West Bank on Tuesday morning, attacked Palestinian houses and abducted fifteen Palestinian civilians.
Seven civilians were abducted by Israeli forces during a morning invasion of the village of Dier Samit, located near Hebron city in the southern part of the West Bank. Local villagers reported that at least eight Israeli army vehicles stormed the village in the early morning hours, searched scores of houses, then detained seven people and left.
Among those abducted were, Mohamed Al Hurob, aged 23, Tha’ir Al Hurob, 22 , and Hamza Al Hurob, 20.
Another Palestinian civilian was abducted on Tuesday morning from the southern part of the West Bank. Mohamed Al Siffi, 17, was abducted from Al Walaja village west of Bethlehem city. Local sources said the boy was abducted during a pre-dawn invasion by Israeli troops into the village.
In the meantime, in the northern part of the West Bank, Israeli forces abducted five Palestinian civilians during morning invasions.
Two of those five civilians were taken to an unknown detention camp from Jayouss village, north-east of Qalqilia city. Israeli troops and jeeps invaded the village and searched and ransacked scores of houses. The two were known as Mohamed Bidah, 18, and Mohamed Khalid, 18. A third civilian, known as Yousif Abu Mustafa from the city of Qalqilia, was taken prisoner at an Israeli army checkpoint located between Qalqilia and Nablus.
The remaining two civilians were abducted from the village of Bitta, south of Nablus city. Eyewitnesses stated that an Israeli army force attacked a number of houses in the village then abducted the two men and left. One of the men was identified as Nihad Mustafa, 26.
On Tuesday morning the Israeli army invaded Al Jalazun refugee camp south of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and abducted two Palestinian men. Bajes Nakhlah and Iyad Saffi were both taken from their homes in the refugee camp after troops searched and ransacked the two houses. Nakhlah had been released from an Israeli army detention camp two months ago.
Israeli army removes a checkpoint near Bethlehem
Palestinian sources reported on Tuesday that the Israeli army has decided to remove one of the many Israeli military checkpoints between the southern West Bank cities of Bethlehem and Hebron.
The checkpoint in question is known to the Palestinians as Al Nashash, and was installed south of Bethlehem six years ago to restrict the movement of Palestinian civilians between the two cities. In the past six years the Israeli forces working in the West Bank have installed more than 300 military checkpoints separating Palestinian communities from each other.
At these checkpoints Palestinian civilians are usually subjected to daily humiliation by the Israeli soldiers’ procedures. For example, soldiers have been known to force people to strip naked, drink their urine or even play music to entertain the soldiers in order to pass through the checkpoint.
Many Palestinians have died while waiting to pass through these checkpoints to get medical help; some have died after being shot by soldiers standing at the checkpoints.
The Gaza Update
A group of unknown gunmen stole a car belonging to the Palestinian National TV group on Tuesday at dawn.
Sources from the TV group stated that the car was being used to drive the night shift staff to their houses, when it was stopped by a group of masked gunmen in Al Shikh Radwan area in the northern part of the Gaza strip.
After assaulting the driver and the staff who were with him, the masked gunmen took the car and fled the scene. Palestinian police initiated an investigation into the attack, the sources added.
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 Polly Bangoriad and Ghassan Bannoura.