The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, said Thursday afternoon that it had fired two mortar shells at the Jewish settlement of Gilo on the edge of Jerusalem.
This settlement initially came under fire at around 3:30 P.M. (local time), residents reported. A 20-year-old settler was very lightly wounded by shrapnel.
Earlier, the Brigades threatened to attack Gilo unless Israeli forces withdrew from Balata refugee camp near Nablus in the northern West Bank.
"We declare that in a couple of hours, if the Israelis do not pull out of Balata refugee camp, we are going to attack [the] Gilo settlement with all kinds of weapons, even with missiles," the representative, who declined to be named, told Reuters on Thursday.
Gilo has come under numerous Palestinian sniper and mortar attacks since the emergence of the current Palestinian uprising.
Fatah officials added that other Israeli communities near Bethlehem could also be attacked if Israel does not end its activities in the next few hours.
There are reports that at least 11 Palestinians have been killed since the Israeli incursions to Balata and Jenin refugee camps began just after midnight. The Israeli army said one of its soldiers was also killed and two were wounded in fierce fighting at Balata.
In Jenin, at least seven Palestinian were killed and at least 70 other people wounded during the ongoing raid, hospital officials said. Five of the deads were Palestinian police officers: Mohammad Mahmoud Al-Haj, 23, from Jalqamous village, Samih Fauzi Al-Aradah, 21, and Osama Musa Jad-Allah, 22, both from Jenin, Abdullah Othman, 23, from Al-Jalameh village, And Muhammad Mahmoud Fayed from Jenin refugee camp.
Two of the deads in Balata were identified as Mahdi Hassan Sabi’e Nammour, 34, from Nablus, and Kayed Khalil Farhan from Balata refugee camp, WAFA reported.
The Palestinian leadership reiterated Thursday its call on the UN Security Council “to end the escalatory Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people, cities, institutions, and leadership, and to provide for the immediate deployment of international monitors on the ground.”
Fatah-Tanzim leader in the West Bank, Marwan Barghouti, warned on Thursday that the Palestinians planned "retaliatory actions" against Israel if the military operations in the two camps were not ended. "What Israel is doing in Balata and Jenin is a massacre," he said. "We are warning Israel and are saying that if it does not withdraw its forces in the coming hours, the Palestinians side will strike against Israelis in all of the occupied territories."
Meanwhile, it was reported by Palestinian sources that Israeli troops took over a UN-sponsored school in Balata camp, but the Israeli army spokesman has denied all Palestinian claims that gunmen have surrounded the building and trapped 14 soldiers inside. Nasser Bidawi, aged 36, a resident of the Balata camp, said gunmen from the al Aksa Martyrs Brigades surrounded the school in response to the Israeli order that unarmed civilians leave the camp before 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon.
"We will not accept any kind of negotiations. Getting in is one thing, getting out is another," one fighter said. (Albawaba.com)
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