Heavy Attack On Jenin Refugee Camp; At Least Seven Palestinians Killed in Gaza and West Bank
Amjad al-Fakhuri from Jenin refugee camp was killed Monday during a fierce gunbattle with Israeli forces. Al-Fakhuri was one of the leaders of Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Palestinian sources said.
Dozens of Israeli tanks and military vehicles moved into the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank before dawn, sparking heavy street fighting with local gunmen in the second raid there in less than a week, sources from both sides said.
Palestinian sources said Israeli army forces also were operating in Tamun, southeast of Jenin.
The Israeli army troops, supported by tanks and military vehicles, re-stormed several areas in Jenin camp and western Jenin amid heavy artillery and machine-gun fire, the sources added. Initial reports said at least three Palestinians killed and more that 60 were wounded.
The Israeli tanks shelled the special police headquarters in the western part of Jenin Sunday night, completely destroying it.
Meanwhile, on Monday morning Israeli soldiers manning a West Bank checkpoint near Nablus shot dead a Palestinian they suspected of planning to attack the roadblock, Army Radio reported.
Elsewhere in the West Bank, a Palestinian sustained moderate wounds when an Israeli tank stationed at the Psagot settlement, which is set up on the lands of Al-Birah, fired an artillery shell on an uninhabited house behind the Shaykh Zayid Hospital in Ramallah.
Israeli soldiers backed by tanks shot dead early Monday three Palestinians during a raid in the Gaza Strip just hours after Israel vowed to "put the brakes on Palestinian terror".
Tanks and troops entered the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip overnight and opened fire with machineguns, demolishing at least one house and clashing with gunmen before pulling out five hours later, Palestinian witnesses said.
An Israeli military source said troops carried out a "limited operation" to search for tunnels used to smuggle arms from nearby Egypt into Rafah.
Palestinian medics and witnesses said two of the three people killed in Rafah were civilians, one of them shot as he tried to whisk his child away from the battle scene.
The overnight army raids followed a unanimous decision late Sunday by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's security cabinet to approve an Israeli plan for "continuous military pressure" on the Palestinian Authority and armed organizations.
The cabinet released a statement saying it had unanimously "approved principles of operation presented by the army to exert ongoing pressure on the Palestinian Authority and terror organizations."
An official close to Sharon told AFP that this decision meant that the government would take harsher military action in the Palestinian activists, including more air strikes and operations similar to last week's raids into the West Bank refugee camps which left more than 20 Palestinians and two soldiers dead.
The source said the military operations would focus on local armed groups and members of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah group, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which has claimed most of the attacks on Israeli targets in recent weeks.
However, the ministers and defense officials who met for three hours decided to retain their policy of not personally harming Arafat, whom they blame for the escalating violence.
A total of 21 Israelis were killed in four attacks over a period of less than 24 hours, including nine people killed in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem on Saturday evening and 10 Israelis killed in a shooting attack Sunday morning at an Israeli roadblock north of the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Albawaba.com)
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