At Least 13 Palestinians Killed in Nablus, Jenin; Three Israeli Soldiers Injured
As diplomatic efforts to halt the crisis picked up, violence raged in the West Bank. The Israeli army has intensified its operation in order to achieve as many goals as possible before international pressure forces Israel to withdraw its troops, Israel Radio reported Friday.
Palestinian gunmen fought Israeli troops in the northern city of Jenin and the army said late on Thursday that two Israeli soldiers had been killed by Palestinian gunfire. Medical workers said three Palestinians had also been killed.
On Friday, Israel Radio reported that during the Israeli operation in the Jenin refugee camp, which began Tuesday, 70 Palestinians have been killed. This could not be confirmed.
Palestinian news agency WAFA reported on Friday that Sadiqa Ahmed Ali, 50, from Nablus was killed and her sister wounded by Israeli shelling. It added a 23-year-old Palestinian policeman died in Qalqilya after being wounded by Israeli troops.
In the old city of Nablus, nine Palestinian gunmen were killed early Friday, witnesses said, as Israeli helicopter gunships fired at armed Palestinians. The Israeli army said a soldier was seriously wounded and two others sustauned light wounds.
Israeli soldiers were unable to enter the old city or the nearby Balata and Askar refugee camps because of heavy Palestinian resistance, the witnesses said. The Israeli military said soldiers did not try to enter the three places.
A 14-year-old girl was killed by Israeli helicopter fire in the northeastern West Bank town of Toubas, witnesses and town officials said.
The Israeli army called on Palestinians hiding in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, one of the most sacred sites of Christendom, to come out, promising to treat them with respect.
Making the call over a loudspeaker Friday, a voice speaking Arabic with an Israeli accent said, "For the peace of all, everyone should leave the holy place and will be treated with respect and dignity."
About 300 Palestinians, including armed fighters, have been holed up in the church, which marks the spot where Jesus Christ was born according to Christian belief, since Tuesday, after the army occupied Bethlehem.
In a statement Friday, the Israeli military said it is holding 900 Palestinian prisoners and has confiscated 50 anti-tank grenades and two launchers, 26 machine guns, 9 bombs, four belts for suicide bombers, dozens of boxes of ammunition, scores of kilograms of explosives, more than 1,300 rifles and more than 670 pistols. (Albawaba.com)
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