Click on Link to download or play MP3 file || 4.66MB || Time 5m 0sWelcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www.imemc.org, for Tuesday April 17th, 2007.

An undercover Israeli army force assassinated a Palestinian resistance fighter in the West Bank, and five Palestinian journalists were injured by Palestinian police in the Gaza Strip. These stories and more coming up, stay tuned.

The West Bank update

An undercover Israeli army force assassinated a Palestinian resistance fighter near the northern West Bank city of Jenin on Tuesday midday.

Ashraf Hanyisha, an Aqsa Brigades fighter of Fatah, was targeted and killed by an undercover Israeli force as he was leaving Mothalth village near Jenin to travel to Jenin city. Eyewitnesses reported that the undercover force ambushed Hanayisha and managed to abduct him, after stopping his car at the main road between the village and the city of Jenin. Eyewitnesses reported that soldiers then took him away from the road and executed him near his car by shooting him seven times, and then fled the scene.

On Tuesday morning four people were injured in a shooting attack at the entrance to the illegal settlement of Naaleh near the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

According to Israeli media sources, one person was moderately injured and three were lightly injured when a Palestinian gunman opened fire at a car near the illegal settlement. The male driver of the car sustained a bullet to the shoulder and the three female passengers sustained shrapnel wounds. Al Aqsa Brigades, the armed wing of Fateh, have claimed responsibility for targeting the illegal settlers.

Shortly after the attack, the Israeli army closed roads leading to a nearby Palestinian village. Israeli troops invaded the village of Bil’in, and shot live rounds and tear gas at residents’ homes. Local youth responded with stones. The Israeli army left the village after some time, leaving three children lightly injured by rubber coated bullets.

As a wave of protests and sit-ins are being organized in several West Bank cities and towns to mark the annual Prisoner’s Day in Palestine, the Israeli army has continued to abduct civilians. On Tuesday at least 25 Palestinian civilians were abducted by the Israeli army in several West Bank areas. Among those abducted were one woman and five children.

April 17th marks the Palestinian Prisoners’ Day every year. The Palestinian community commemorates this day in honor and respect to those being held in Israeli detention camps against international law. There are at least 11,000 Palestinians being held in Israeli detention camps, among them 120 women and around 400 children. 46% of the total has not undergone trial, while 10% have not been charged with a crime.

On Tuesday at around 5am a man from the West Bank city of Bethlehem was shot dead by a group of gunmen on his way to work. The attack took place near Bilal Ben Rabah Mosque in the north of the city. According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), the murder was provoked by a family dispute.

The Gaza update

Five Palestinian journalists were injured by Palestinian police forces this afternoon while protesting against the Palestinian government’s inability to resolve the issue of the abduction of BBC reporter, Alan Johnston. Witnesses said that the PLC guards attacked journalists with rifle buts as the latter were protesting at the gates of Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in Gaza, where a special session was being held inside.

The police forced the protesters back to their tent, just a few meters away from the PLC premises, witnesses added. Fayed Abu Shamallah, of the BBC Arabic service in Gaza, appealed for the release of information regarding Johnston’s case, as the reporter has been in captivity for 36 days now.

Abu Shamallah confirmed that the protests will continue until his fellow reporter is released. The Palestinian Journalist’s Union called yesterday for further protests to pressure the Palestinian Authority to verify unconfirmed reports that 42 year-old Johnston has been executed by an unknown group.

The union voiced deep concern over the fate of the BBC reporter, describing such harm to foreign journalists as ā€˜dangerous and anti-democraticā€™. A statement issued by the union demanded an immediate investigation into the whole matter.

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 Polly Bangoriad and Ghassan Bannoura.

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