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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www.imemc.org, for Monday August 11th, 2008.

The Israeli army invaded West Bank cities kidnapping 5 civilians. In addition, Israeli troops kidnapped three from Gaza at an Israeli checkpoint. These stories and more coming up, stay tuned.

The Israeli army kidnapped three Palestinians from near the Kerem Shalom crossing point in the southern Gaza Strip. Israeli troops apprehended the three Palestinians while they were attempting to cross into Israel.

Eye witnesses reported that the three Palestinians were unarmed, and the Israeli army took them for investigation to an unknown detention camp.

On Monday at dawn, a number of Israeli military vehicles moved into the village of Halhul near the West Bank city of Hebron. Troops kidnapped a Palestinian and took him to an unknown detention camp .The Israeli army imposed a curfew throughout the city.

In the northern West Bank city of Jenin, nine Israeli military vehicles entered the city and kidnapped two civilians taking them to an unknown destination.

In Nablus, Israeli troops raided Balata and Askar refugee camps. The troops cut off the local electrical supply and ransacked several houses. Two brothers were seized from the camps.

On a separate issue, renowned Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, died on Saturday evening at age 67 at the Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston, Texas in the United States. Darwish was one of the intellectual figures and was known as the voice of the diaspora of the Palestinians and their plight under occupation. On Thursday Darwish had undergone open heart surgery and had remained in a critical condition until his death on Saturday.

Darwish was a well respected Palestinian cultural icon who was well known among the Palestinian and Arab people and among international supporters of the Palestinian cause.

Palestinian Minister of Culture Tahani Abu Doqqa stated that the burial ceremonies of Palestinian poet and intellectual Mahmoud Darwish will be held on Wednesday in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Continuing our daily news coverage, Israel is seeking to overturn an order by the National Court of Spain to arrest six Israeli military leaders who have been accused of war crimes.

Sources in the Israeli attorney general’s office told the Jerusalem Post that the Israeli government is fighting to overturn the arrest warrants for the six, who were accused by a Palestinian human rights organization for the willful killing of seventeen civilians in Gaza in 2002.

On Monday, an Israeli committee recommended that Israel release 120 to 150 Palestinian prisoners who do not ‘have blood on their hands’.

The recommendation was made following a promise by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he would consider their release.

The committee requested the release of another group of 53 prisoners who were detained before the Oslo accords. Most of them have served more than 25 years in prison. The committee also recommended that all prisoners with chronic diseases should also be released.

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. This report has been brought to you by Hussam Qassis

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