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Posted: 2/28/2002 9:08:36 AM EDT
Israel Attacks Palestinian Refugee Camps By MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH .c The Associated Press NABLUS, West Bank (Feb. 28) - Backed by tanks and helicopter gunships, Israeli troops launched a major assault on two West Bank refugee camps Thursday, a first in 17 months of fighting. Nine Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were killed in heavy gun battles, and more than 90 Palestinians were wounded, doctors said. The military said the Balata and Jenin camps were strongholds of Palestinian militants, and that Thursday's operation was intended to show that ''there is no refuge for terror.'' A militia leader said his men would die rather than surrender. The fighting came just hours after Saudi Arabia presented its new peace initiative in a world forum for the first time. Under the proposal, the Arab world would make peace with Israel in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal from the territories it occupied in the 1967 Mideast war. Also late Wednesday, a Palestinian woman with an explosives belt blew herself up near an Israeli checkpoint. Dareen Abu Aisheh, a 21-year-old English literature student at An Najah University in the West Bank town of Nablus, was the second woman to do that since the fighting began in September 2000. Three Israeli policemen as well as two Palestinians who were in a car with Abu Aisheh were hurt in the incident. Thursday's clashes brought to 1,006 the number of deaths on the Palestinian side in the past 17 months. On the Israeli side, 288 people have been killed. Israeli troops have repeatedly entered Palestinian towns and villages, but have largely stayed out of the 27 refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, many of them strongholds of militants. Tanks cannot enter the narrow alleys of the crowded camps, and the military has not sent in large ground forces, apparently to avoid Israeli casualties. Referring to the gunmen's boasting that Israeli soldiers would not dare enter the camps, the army said in a statement that until Thursday's operation, ''the terror organizations saw these refugee camps as a safe haven from the Israeli security forces.'' Last week, after six Israeli soldiers were killed by gunmen from the Al Aqsa Brigades militia, the army took up positions around Balata, commandeering four apartment buildings overlooking the camp. A leader of the militia, Nasser Awais, and hundreds of his followers are holed up in Balata, home to 20,000 Palestinians. Early Thursday, dozens of Israeli tanks surrounded the camp, and helicopter gunships flew overhead. Gunmen patrolling the outskirts of Balata alerted each other by mobile phones and began firing at the Israeli forces. Speaking by phone as the Israeli assault got under way, Awais, the militia leader, said that ''Israeli troops will not enter the camp except over our dead bodies.'' Israeli troops fired heavy machine guns from the tanks and helicopters, and at least two Israeli missiles hit Balata, plunging it into darkness. Gunman Mohannad Sharaya, 23, said that at one point, he and six militiamen were seeking cover in an alley when Israeli troops from a hilltop post overlooking the camp aimed a laser beam at the group to guide their fire. Militiamen set off dozens of homemade bombs during the fighting.
Link Posted: 2/28/2002 9:09:28 AM EDT
Israeli troops also took up positions in an elementary school on the edges of the camp. The military denied claims that Palestinian gunmen had trapped soldiers inside the school. An Associated Press Television News cameraman in Balata said he saw several dozen stone throwers outside the school, but no gunmen. Fighting in Balata continued throughout the morning. Three Palestinians - two gunmen and a civilian - and an Israeli soldier were killed. Palestinian doctors said more than 85 people were wounded in Balata, a majority of them gunmen. Israeli tanks also entered the West Bank town of Jenin from three directions, Palestinians said, surrounding the refugee camp at the western edge of the town. Palestinians said six Palestinian policemen were killed in exchanges of fire, and eight people were wounded, including several civilians. In one incident, fighting erupted outside the home of the Jenin police chief. Two of the chief's guards and his 24-year-old son were killed, witnesses said. Ahmed Abdel Rahman, an adviser to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, accused Israel of trying to destroy hopes for peace. Asked about Israel's charge that the camps are strongholds of militants, Abdel Rahman said: ''We cannot prevent the Palestinians from defending themselves and their land as long as there is occupation.'' The violence persisted despite local efforts to calm the tensions and a Saudi proposal to end the decades-old Israel-Arab conflict. Israeli and Palestinian security commander met Thursday to consider the situation in the Gaza Strip, said Gaza police chief Brig. Gen. Abdel Razek Majaidie. On Tuesday, the security chiefs had a stormy meeting, trading demands and charges. The Palestinians asked the Israelis for a timetable for lifting the many roadblocks in the West Bank and Gaza, imposed shortly after the violence began. Israel told the Palestinians that they must dismantle the Fatah militias. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia raised its Middle East peace initiative for the first time in a world forum Wednesday night, while accusing Israel of ''systematic terrorism'' and trying to expel the Palestinians. Israel expressed disappointment, saying it had hoped for peaceful words - not confrontational language. Saudi Arabia's U.N. Ambassador Fawzi Shobokshi was a late addition to speakers at a two-day open meeting of the U.N. Security Council on the Mideast, and his address was eagerly awaited because of the attention focused on Crown Prince Abdullah's proposal, floated in Saudi and American media this month. AP-NY-02-28-02 0948EST
Link Posted: 2/28/2002 9:18:53 AM EDT
I wonder if the Israelis will be using any fuel-air explosives.
Link Posted: 2/28/2002 9:30:31 AM EDT
Daisy Cutters and Cluster bombs
Link Posted: 2/28/2002 9:41:54 AM EDT
This is just SO familiar... substitute the words "Indian Reservation" for "refugee camp" and you have the 19th Century American West again... Wonder if this version will end the same way?
Link Posted: 2/28/2002 2:41:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/28/2002 2:43:37 PM EDT by Chaingun]
Indians? Mr. lbrl pass the bud...[smoke] How about substituting "refugee camp" for "Israel" which is what the country is made of.
Link Posted: 2/28/2002 2:56:21 PM EDT
Actually, it sounds like the conflict in Mass in the beginning of the Revolutionary war in America, when the English demanded that the Americans hand over their arms. Ya gotta love an underdog, even if they are terrorist mutherf***ers.
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