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IDF Breaks Ceasefire Kills 3 Youths Playing Soccer

IDF Breaks Ceasefire And Kills Three Youths Playing Soccer

Exclusive translation by Sol Salbe

The Israeli web site Einyan Merkazi ( did not mince words in reporting the death of three Palestinian youths yesterday. It chose to believe the Palestinian version of events rather than IDF's. The credibility of the IDF Spokeswoman has been tarnished to the point that virtually all other mainstream sites gave equal prominence to the two versions.

But Einyan Merkazi went further still. It hinted that the IDF units' commanders have a track record in provoking this kind of incidents. It may be recalled that the matter of the failure of the last Hudna has been discussed quite extensively in the Israeli media. It is now known that even the Chief of Staff Major-General Moshe "Boogi" Ya'alon now believes that it was a unit commanded and staffed mainly by right-wing settlers that was responsible for the chain of event that caused the collapse of the last Hudna. Mainstream Israeli reporter and commentator Akiva Eldar reported that Ya'alon was determined to ensure no repetition of the incident in which the High Command lost the imitative to the officers in the field who had their own agenda. Hence the reference to : "Southern Command is investigating the incident. The officers commanding the unit responsible for the shooting were involved in similar incidents in the past and the circumstances are being examined."

Below is the Einyan Merkazi reported that I have just translated as well as more extensive report from the English Haaretz. It is worthwhile reiterating that Einyan Merkazi is not a left-wing source. While it is very critical and cynical of the settlers it is equally critical of Gush Shalom and similar organisations.

IDF breaks ceasefire and kills three youths playing soccer

The casualties were shot to death near the fence in Rafah. They were 14-15 years old and unarmed. About 30 mortar bombs were lobbed at settlement and military positions in response. There were no casualties.

By Einyan Merkazi reporter

Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip reported on Saturday afternoon that three Palestinian youths were shot dead on Saturday afternoon when they approached the fence.

The IDF is investigating the circumstances. According to the Palestinians those killed were 14-15 year old youths who were playing soccer and were not at all armed.

Southern Command is investigating the incident. The officers commanding the unit responsible for the shooting were involved in similar incidents in the past and the circumstances are being examined.

The Palestinians responded in the evening with a barrage of about 30 mortar bombs directed at military targets and settlement in the Strip. There were no causalities. One house was damaged in the settlements that are due to be evacuated.

The Hebrew Haaretz quotes sources in that the Palestinian Authority that it has investigated the matter and found that smugglers were involved. Several weeks ago this news service took the same anonymous sources for good coin. It has since been confirmed that the previous report was false. Unless there is some corroboration I am inclined to disregard that report. (The fact that neither the English version of Haaretz nor anyone else has mentioned it is another good reason. -Sol Salbe]

Fear of escalation after IDF troops kill 3 in Gaza

Last update - 02:17 10/04/2005

Tension increased in the Gaza Strip yesterday as Israel Defense Forces troops shot dead three Palestinian teens in Rafah. Palestinian militants retaliated by firing at least 25 mortar shells at Gush Katif. There were no injuries.

The IDF fears an escalation in the hostilities following the incident.

Meanwhile, the right-wing Revava movement is planning a large demonstration at the Temple Mount today and security sources voiced fears that this may also inflame the situation.

A senior Southern Command source told Haaretz that the teens who were killed were arms smugglers.

Senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad sources announced that the incident was an Israeli violation of the calm and that they were free to retaliate. However, they said they were still committed to the cease-fire.

Security sources said the escalation, which began last Tuesday with the shooting and wounding of a settler from Morag, followed by a Qassam rocket launching at Sderot, must be stopped before it endangers the cease-fire.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz yesterday sent a message to Palestinian Interior Minister Nasser Yousef, asking him to preserve the cease-fire and not to let the situation deteriorate. Mofaz suggested looking into the matter and dealing with it as "a local incident" rather than turning it into a national incident that could lead to an escalation.

Golani troops deployed on the Philadelphi route on the Israeli-Egyptian border noticed five teenagers crawling from Rafah toward the border yesterday afternoon. As the youths, who were apparently unarmed, approached the border, the troops shot them, killing two 15-year-olds and one 14-year-old - Ashraf Musa, Khaled A'anam and Ahmad al-Jazar - in the deadliest incident in the Gaza Strip since the cease-fire with the Palestinians was declared two months ago.

The other two youths fled back into Palestinian territory, where they were detained for questioning by Palestinian security forces.

A senior officer said the soldiers had opened fire only after firing warning shots, and aimed at the lower part of the boys' bodies.

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas denounced the incident, which he described as "Israel's contempt for the cease-fire." A senior Hamas leader, Said al-Siam, announced that the organization saw the incident as an Israeli violation of the cease-fire and reserved the right to respond. Palestinian leaders and militant groups stopped short of calling off the truce, but militants called for a "reevaluation" of their positions.

After the incident, militants fired at least 25 mortars at Jewish settlements in Gaza, causing no injuries, the army said. IDF sources said most shells were fired by members of the Popular Resistance Committees, the Palestinian group that does not see itself bound by the Cairo understandings with the PA.

Ali Abu Zeid, a 22-year-old Rafah resident, said the teens were playing soccer in an open area when the ball was kicked toward a border fence. "The kids ran after it, and that's when we heard gunfire," he said.

Several Palestinian organizations vowed to take revenge on Israel.

The IDF will beef up its forces at the roadblocks around Jerusalem following the escalation in the Gaza Strip, due to the intention of the extremist right-wing Revava movement to bring large numbers of activists to the Temple Mount. The army will prevent Muslims under the age of 40 from coming to worship today on the Temple Mount.

Over the weekend, Palestinian organizations continued to issue threats of harsh retaliation to the demonstration planned by Revava. Fatah and Hamas organized processions of hundreds of people in Nablus, Hebron, Tul Karm and the Gaza Strip, threatening to call off the truce with Israel if the right-wing activists carry out their plans.

Abbas tried to calm the stormy Palestinian street on Friday and said "the Palestinian leadership held contacts with Israeli officials and with Mofaz, who made a commitment to make every effort to prevent such acts on the Temple Mount."

[The independent Middle East News Service concentrates on providing alternative information chiefly from Israeli sources. It is sponsored by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the AJDS. These are expressed in its own statements]

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