Palestinian Death Toll Rises to Five in West Bank

Published September 13th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Member of the Islamic Jihad died Thursday of injuries he sustained a day earlier during an attack by the Israeli army near the northern West Bank city of Jenin, where three Palestinians were killed overnight during incursions into the city. A fifth Palestinian was killed by the occupation troops in Ramallah. 

AFP said that Suffian al-Arda, a 22-year-old member of the Islamic Jihad group wanted by Israel, was wounded during a military operation in the nearby village of Arraba on Wednesday morning and taken by the Israeli army to a hospital in the northern Israeli city of Afula. 

He died there on Thursday and his body was repatriated to the Jenin hospital, Palestinian sources told AFP. 

His 14-year-old sister was also killed Wednesday when an Israeli shell hit their house. 

Overnight, three Palestinians were shot dead and scores were injured as Israeli troops and tanks forced their way into two West Bank towns of Jenin and Jericho, Palestinian medical sources said Thursday. 

One Palestinian was killed by the occupation troops in the West Bank city of Ramallah, said AFP. His identity was not immediately identified. 

The man was killed near the village of Kharbata as he was attempting to remove a road block set up by the army, AFP quoted Israel Radio as saying. 

The three were identified as Khattab Jabbarin, 32, Fakhri Slait, 33, and his wife, Rajaa Freihat, 24.  

During the operation the Israeli forces destroyed the local government headquarters in the autonomous Palestinian town, according to the sources. 

It was the second Israeli raid on Jenin in two days.  

The previous night, ten Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops during armed incursions into areas in and around the town. 

Meanwhile, Israeli troops, supported by tanks and helicopters, took control of the Palestinian-ruled city of Jericho in the West Bank Thursday, also entering under cover of night, Palestinian security forces said. 

Sporadic gunfire could still be heard after the Israeli forces moved into the autonomous zone after simultaneous incursions from the city's north, south and east, the Palestinian sources said. 

All the Palestinian security offices are located in the Palestinian headquarters in Jericho, near the Jordanian border by the Dead Sea, according to sources. 

The Israeli army later confirmed the Jenin operation but refused to comment on the reports of the operation in Jericho. 

The Israeli troops reportedly took control of Jericho at 03:45 a.m. (0045 GMT). 

The tanks entering from the south worked their way up to the gates of the key Palestinian security base, while the other two units deployed in the town center. 

Tanks and armored cars could be seen throughout the town, according to residents. 

Bulldozers destroyed crops around the town, the same sources said. 

There was no word on casualties. 

More than 20 tanks were said to be involved in the night-time operations which were facilitated by the Israeli use of flares. 

The purpose of the incursion was not immediately clear, but the use of bulldozers suggested that the Israeli forces intended to tear down key Palestinian buildings, AFP said. 

Three combat helicopters hovered above. 

Late Wednesday, a female Israeli settler from the Alfei Menache settlement in the West Bank was shot dead by Palestinian attackers. 

On Sunday, Palestinian gunmen ambushed an Israeli school bus near the Jordan valley city of Jericho, killing the driver and a teacher, and wounding three other teachers. 

Jericho was also the scene of frequent exchanges of fire in the early months of the Palestinian uprising, or Intifada, which erupted last September 28 and which has left more than 795 people dead, most of them Palestinians. 

Some 5,000 Jewish settlers live in the Jordan Valley. 

The flow of blood continued to obstruct efforts to secure truce talks between Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, but US Secretary of State Colin Powell was adamant that the world not to lose sight of the Middle East crisis despite the horrors unleashed on the United States by terrorist attacks, AFP said. 

Powell said he spoke Wednesday with Arafat, twice with Peres, and with Israeli President Ariel Sharon, in part to tell them how important a long-delayed, high-level meeting between the two sides would be. 

"In this time of tragedy, in this time of heightened tension throughout the world and especially throughout that region, let's seize this opportunity to see if we cannot start this process of meetings," Powell told reporters in Washington - Albawaba.com 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)


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