Skip to comments.Complete closure in West Bank, Gaza over Purim
Posted on 03/04/2004 7:54:33 PM PST by Alouette
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz ordered a general closure imposed on Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip after 56 warnings were received by the security establishment of plans by terrorists to perpetrate attacks during the Purim holiday.
The closure will remain in effect until Monday evening, with security forces maintaining a high state of alert. The Israel Police, Border Police, and IDF will maintain a beefed-up presence in cities and along the Green Line, patrolling places of entertainment, malls, and central bus stations. Additional roadblocks will be set up on highways and at entrances to cities.
At the same time, Israel will increase its pressure on the terrorist organizations by stepping up operations to nab fugitives and target "ticking bomb" terrorists, officials said. Mofaz asked officials to ensure that issues of humanitarian assistance be dealt with during the closure.
In Rafah, two Palestinians were killed during an IDF operation late Wednesday night to detect tunnels used to smuggle weapons from Egypt into the Palestinian-controlled areas.
The two were identified as Muhammad Ottaman, 14, and Awni Kullab. Eleven Palestinians were wounded. Palestinian media reports claimed that Ottaman was walking with fellow school pupils when he was shot.
The reports claim six homes were demolished during the incursion, including a four-story building. The operation ended Thursday afternoon without any tunnels being found.
IDF officers said Palestinians fired weapons, threw firebombs, and detonated bombs near soldiers operating in the area, but stressed they had no knowledge of the Palestinian claims regarding two fatalities.
Elsewhere in the Gaza Strip, an Israeli woman was lightly wounded by shrapnel after a Kassam rocket landed in a settlement in the northern Gaza Strip next to the kindergarten early Thursday morning. The woman was treated at the scene. During the day, three anti-tank rockets were fired at IDF units on the Karni-Netzarim road.
In Kifel Hares in Samaria, a Palestinian was injured after a bomb he was loading in a car with an accomplice partially blew up prematurely. The two fled to a nearby village. Security forces searched the area for them as sappers detonated the remainder of the bomb.
During the day shots were fired at soldiers deployed in the Jenin refugee camp. In Hawara in Samaria, IDF officers said they were investigating claims that soldiers had commandeered a house, confining 17 members of a Palestinian family to one floor of the building and refusing them permission to leave.
According to media reports, the soldiers took over the house four days ago and allowed one family member to leave daily to stock up on supplies. Elsewhere in the area, security forces arrested 22 Palestinian fugitives in raids that began in the early morning and continued throughout the day.
Seven fugitives were arrested in Dura southwest of Hebron, three fugitives in Idna west of Hebron, one in Tarkumiya west of Hebron, one in Beit Anan west of Ramallah, and two in Tulkarm.
Two fugitives were arrested in Surif southwest of Bethlehem and six in Nablus, where soldiers came under fire during the operation. In the afternoon an undercover Border Police unit arrested an armed fugitive in Mitalon south of Jenin and another fugitive was arrested in Karwat Bani Zeid north of Ramallah. The arrests were in addition to 120 fugitives caught by security forces in the past week.
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