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Palestine Today 021207

Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www.imemc.org, for Monday February 12th, 2007.

Israeli army abducts at least 14 Palestininians, while Palestinian sources report that unknown gunmen have abducted a former Palestinian official in the Gaza strip, these stories and more coming up stay tuned.
Palestine Today 021207
Palestine Today 021207
The West Bank Update

An undercover Israeli army force abducted a Palestinian child at noon on Monday from the southern West bank city of Bethlehem. Eyewitnesses stated that undercover Israeli soldiers using a civilian car, sped to the entrance of Duhisha refugee camp located on the eastern side of Bethlehem.

Hamza Hmamda, 16, was standing at the camp entrance when the military took him by surprise then forced him into the car. He was taken to a nearby Israeli army base just outside the city. On Monday morning Israeli soldiers attacked and injured a Palestinian teen from Al Khader village in the southern part of Bethlehem as he was on his way to school.

Local sources reported that Issmat Salah, 17, was walking to his school when an Israeli army patrol stopped him. Soldiers started to beat him with batons and rifle butts. Medical sources stated that the boy was moved to the nearby Beit Jala public hospital for treatment, after sustaining moderate wounds.

Israeli forces invaded several parts of the northern West Bank, abducted 13 Palestinian men and injured one on Monday at dawn. In Nablus city, one man was injured and eight others were abducted when a massive Israeli army force invaded the city and the nearby Balata refugee camp.

Local sources reported that Israeli army vehicles and bulldozers stormed the city, and Balata refugee camp. Soldiers conducted a large scale house-to-house search.

Eyewitnesses stated that soldiers were shooting live rounds and sound bombs at the residents during the military operation. Samier Al Dibek, 40, was injured in his foot when he was hit with a live round, which was fired at him by the army as he was standing in front of his home. Dibek was moved to the public hospital in the city.

During the search eight men were abducted. Among them Ragheb Aliwi, 26, Iyad Duwikat, 23, and his brothers Bassam, 31, Yasser, 26, and Jihad.

In the meantime, the Israeli army also invaded the village of Zuwata, which lies to the east of Nablus city and abducted one man. Also on Monday at dawn, Israeli troops invaded the city of Tulkarem, Tulkarem refugee camp and the nearby village of Bil'a. Four residents were abducted.



The Gaza Update

Palestinian sources reported that unknown gunmen have abducted a former Palestinian official, and blew up a small restaurant in the south of the Gaza strip on Monday.

The former State Attorney General Khaled Al Qudrah was abducted by a group of unknown gunmen in Khan Younis city, eyewitnesses reported that the gunmen intercepted Al Qudrah's car, then forced him into their car and fled the scene.

In the meantime another group of masked men blew up a small restaurant in Rafah city, local sources reported that the gunmen planted a home-made bomb in the restaurant and remotely detonated the bombs, totally destroying the restaurant.

Palestinian Authority sources reported that Palestinian security agencies and police have initiated an investigation of the two attacks. No injures were reported in both attacks, however those two attacks are the first of their kind since the Fatah Hamas agreement that was reach in the holy city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia last Thursday.

Jerusalem Update

Israel decided on Monday to suspend construction of a new bridge near the Al-Aqsa mosque of Jerusalem, allowing the Israeli public to have their say, according to Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski. However, excavation continues.

However, the decision does not affect underway work, in which archeologists are trying to make sure no important remains are damaged when a walkway is built, municipal sources elaborated. The construction by the Israeli authorities would replace an already collapsed bridge leading to one of the Al-Aqsa Mosque's gates, called Bab-Almagharba.

Muslims overseas and inside Jerusalem have expressed fears that such digging would endanger the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest shrine for Muslims, an issue Israel underestimated on Sunday, as the Israeli cabinet deemed the construction works necessary. The Arab League described the digging as 'a criminal attack', calling on the United Nations to intervene.

Dozens of Palestinian worshippers have been wounded over the past few days, during protests against the digging, while the Israeli authorities in the occupied old city of Jerusalem deployed more than 2,000 police to prevent further protests. Also, the authorities denied Muslim men under the age of 45 access to the holy site.

Conclusion

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

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