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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www.imemc.org, for Tuesday August 12th, 2008.
The Israeli army has invaded several West Bank cities and has kidnapped 19 civilians, whilst Israeli settlers continue to attack Hebron city. We will be discussing these stories and more, so stay tuned.
On Tuesday, the Israeli army invaded Balata refugee camp east of Nablus with a large number of military vehicles, spreading throughout the camp, ransacking several houses and seizing thirteen civilians. They are reported to have shot grenades, sound bombs and live rounds.
Simultaneously, the Israeli army invaded Petunia village south of Ramallah and kidnapped two civilians after searching houses in the village.
In the West Bank city of Jenin Israeli troops raided Kabatia village and took three civilians to unknown detention camps. Eye witnesses reported that troops harassed civilians whilst they ransacked several houses in the village
A number of Israeli military vehicles and helicopters also entered the city of Tubas, with troops moving through the city and reportedly demolishing farmlands, crops and vegetable markets.
The Israeli army invaded Al Khader village south of Bethlehem, where they searched several houses but no people were taken.
The Israeli army entered Hebron this morning and kidnapped a local fourteen year old boy to an unknown destination, According to local reports; Israeli troops surrounded the city, erecting several checkpoints at village entrances close to Hebron, on main roads and near the Israeli settlements. The Israeli army also imposed curfew on the area.
Also in Hebron, a group of Israeli settlers attacked houses and a mosque and attempted to set the fire to the mosque. Settlers attacked both local civilians and international peace activists inside the mosque, and showered them with garbage. Eye witnesses reported that the settlers climbed onto the roof of the mosque and attempted to set it on fire. They also harassed civilians and forcibly grabbed video cameras from international photographers present at the attack.
Another group of armed Israeli settlers attacked the nearby Wad Al Nasara village, by attempting to break into houses in the village and harassing local civilians. They are reported to have caused considerable damage to some of the properties attacked.
The Israeli defense minister ordered the closure of all Gaza crossings on Tuesday, following a homemade shell landing in the nearby Israeli town of Sderot.
The ruling party Hamas in Gaza downplayed the decision, calling it ‘meaningless’ on the basis that all the crossings were already effectively closed. Since 19th June, Israel has only allowed limited shipments of goods, commodities and fuel into the coastal region.
On June 19th Egyptian officials brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, stipulating that Israel should gradually lift the blockade whilst the Gaza-based resistance factions, involving Hamas, stop firing shells into Israel.
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 Nathan Dannison and Hussam Qassis.