Israel Reoccupies Tulkarem; At Least 11 Palestinians Shot Dead in West Bank, Gaza Strip
Israel has been ignoring growing international criticism of its escalating military campaign against the Palestinian Authority, continuing around the clock land, air and sea attack against targets in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Israel's campaign continues despite the harshest criticism voiced Wednesday by United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, who suggested Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was pursuing a futile policy of seeing how many Palestinians could be killed.
For its part, the Palestinian Authority has asked for immediate U.S. intervention. "They (the Israelis) are imposing a daily war against our people, our leadership and the peace process," said Yasser Arafat adviser Nabil Abu Rdeineh.
On the ground, since midnight to Thursday noon, at least 11 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Tulkarem Under Occupation
Palestinian sources said Israeli troops killed at least five Palestinians and wounded eight others in the West Bank city of Tulkarem, where Israeli soldiers are carrying out a house-to-house search for Palestinian activists, weapons and explosives.
The Israeli activity in Tulkarem includes massive ground assaults on the city’s two Palestinian refugee camps. Israeli armored corps troops streamed into this northern West Bank city seizing the two refugee camps, imposing a curfew and conducting house-to-house searches.
In the Tulkarem camp, Israeli troops seized a U.N.-run school as a command post, said Hamdi Dardouk, Palestinian intelligence chief in Tulkarem.
In another incident, Israeli forces killed Mohammed Anani, a prominent operative of the Islamic Jihad group, in a raid on his home in the West Bank village of Siris, Palestinians said.
Elsewhere, Israeli jets have bombed the Palestinian police headquarters in Gaza and the headquarters of Yasser Arafat's presidential guard in Bethlehem.
Israeli helicopters fired five missiles at a Palestinian intelligence headquarters in the town of Halhoul near the West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday, injuring three people, a Palestinian intelligence chief said.
Arafat – Peres
Earlier, Apache helicopters again fired rockets at the compound where Yasser Arafat is staying in Ramallah while he was speaking to Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres on the phone and with European Union diplomats in the building at the time.
According to AP, Arafat held out the phone and told Peres "Do you hear this?" when one of the missiles hit, the aides said. Peres, who opposes Sharon's "force only" approach, declined comment Thursday.
At least two Palestinians were killed in gun battles with Israeli troops in central and northern Gaza on Thursday, Palestinian doctors said. Two other Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli troops late Wednesday as they tried to lay explosives, the Israeli army said.
Also Thursday, Israeli gunboats fired missiles at a Palestinian police roadblock near the Gaza City coast and wounded 13 policemen, three critically, Palestinian security officials said. Other gunboats fired at Arafat's seaside office. The Israeli military said its forces attacked "terrorist targets" including a police post. (Albawaba.com)
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