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Palestine Today 122706

Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www.imemc.org, for Wednesday December 27th 2006.

The Israeli army abducts 17 Palestinian men during pre-dawn invasions in several parts of the West Bank, while the Israeli Prime Minister orders the army to resume attacks in Gaza. These stories and more coming up, stay tuned.
Palestine Today 122706
Palestine Today 122706
The West Bank Update

Palestinian sources reported that the Israeli army has abducted at least 17 Palestinian men from several parts of the West Bank in pre-dawn invasions on Wednesday morning.

In the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, the Israeli army invaded Al Khadier village, south of the city, and Aida refugee camp in the city. Two men were abducted during the attack.

Israeli troops surrounded the home of Ahmad Abu Hadu, 17, in Aida Refugee camp. They searched and ransacked the house, then took Hadu to an unknown detention camp, his family reported. Also troops attacked other houses in the camp and took Mohamed Al Radi, 17, and Mahmod Harz-Allah, 16, as prisoners. Farhan Rashidah, 21, was abducted when Israeli troops attacked residents' houses in the nearby Al Rashidah village.

In the meantime another Israeli force attacked and searched residents' houses in Al Khadier village south of Bethlehem city. Before leaving, soldiers abducted Ali Salah, 19. His father said that soldiers surrounded the house, forced the family into one room, searched the house, took his son, and left. The army gave no reason for their action, the father added.

Also in the southern West Bank, in the city of Hebron, Israeli forces attacked residents' houses, searched them, and abducted four Palestinian men from the city while another two were taken from Yatta and Ithna villages south of Hebron. Local sources identified the six detained as: Fadile Abu I'ram, 39, from Yatta village; Arafat Al Natah, 27, from Ithna village; and Othman Al Qumiri, 30, Mu'aied Al Muhtasep, 21, Mohmaed Fanunah, 39, and Anas Laban, 26, all from Hebron city.

On Wednesday afternoon, two international volunteers working with International Solidarity Movement teams in Hebron were detained by the Israeli army for more than four hours.

The two volunteers, one Spanish and one South African, were on their way to Tal Al Ruida neighborhood to escort Palestinian schoolchildren from school back to their homes, in an attempt to stop illegal Israeli settlers living in that neighborhood from attacking the schoolchildren.


According to a press release from the International Solidarity Movement, the soldiers stopped the two volunteers at a checkpoint and detained them for three hours and let them go after high-ranking army officers interrogated them for another hour.

Four Palestinian men were abducted by the Israeli army in the northern West Bank city of Nablus during a pre-dawn invasion to the city.

Local sources identified the men as Khalil Khalil Abu Ja'ssa, 20, Mohamed Abd Al Hak, 22, Mohamed Khalbus, 18, and Ahmad Abu Salha, 22. All were moved to unknown detention camps. More that 20 Israeli military vehicles entered the city. They surrounded the downtown of Nablus, searched houses, took the four men, and left the city, eyewitnesses reported.

Kamal Saleh and Mohamed Wathik, both from the village of Al Araka, southwest of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, were abducted by the Israeli army during an invasion to the village on Wednesday at dawn. Residents reported that soldiers stormed the village, attacked scores of residents' houses, then took the two to an unknown destination.

Israeli army spokesperson told Israeli media that those abductions on Wednesday in the West Bank were of men whom the army calls "Wanted Palestinians".

The Gaza Update

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert authorized the Israeli army to begin "pinpoint attacks against home made Qassam shells 'launching cells' in Gaza," he announced Wednesday. The Israeli decision comes shortly after a homemade Qassam shell injured two Israeli teenagers in Sedierot, a town in southern Israel, on Tuesday. Palestinian resistance fighters in Gaza said that the shellings are in response to Israeli army attacks, mostly in the West Bank, which have killed 15 Palestinians in the past month.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and a Palestinian government spokesperson both responded to Olmert's decision by urging Palestinian resistance factions and the Israeli army to uphold the November 26th ceasefire in Gaza.


Conclusion

Thank you for joining us from Occupied Bethlehem. You have been listening to Palestine Today for the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org brought to you by Jack Sahouri and Ghassan Bannoura.

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