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Nablus: One Killed 48 Injured In 13 Hours

Updates From Nablus

1. 1 killed, 48 injured During 13 Hours of IOF Incursions 2. Balata Refugee Camp Imprisoned By Army and Roadblocks

1. Nablus 1 killed, 48 injured During 13 Hours of IOF Incursions Tuesday, June 4th 2003

The Israeli Occupation Forces and Border Police held a strong military presence in the city of Nablus today with tanks, APCs (armoured personel carriers), hummers, jeeps and an Apache helicopter. This incited many confrontations between the armed forces and stone throwing youths where one Palestinian civilian was killed and 48 were injured. The armed forces used live bullets, rubber bullets and teargas. Many family homes and office buildings in the centre of the city and the Askar & Balata Refugee camps were occupied by the army, holding families (including women and children) and office workers hostage.

At 6.30am, an APC and 2 jeeps parked at the east side of the Balata refugee camp, the end of Market Street (the Main Street) which is a heavy populated civilian area. They were randomly beeping their horns, sounding sirens and shooting live rounds while there was very little local presence on the streets. This continued for 2 hours until it incited responses from stone throwing youths. The armed forces responded to this with live bullets, rubber bullets and teargas. An international presence in the area witnessed this incursion which had no evident military or security purpose.

In the centre of the city at least 5 buildings, 3 family homes and 2 office buildings, were being occupied by the armed forces. International volunteers were informed that an elderly couple in one of the the family homes, in need of medical treatment, were being held hostage. Four internationals approached the residence to try to negotiate with the armed forces, two were allowed enter. The armed forces, 8 soldiers who were using the residence for surveillance and to sleep, had occupied the house from 2.30am the previous night. The elderly couple, who lived there with their daughter, both needed medical attention, the father following heart surgery and the mother following back surgery. After negotiations with the soldiers the internationals were able to bring the mother to hospital in an ambulance which was waiting outside. Despite being in need of medical treatment the soldiers refused to allow the father to leave. He was concerned about leaving the soldiers in his house and with his daughter alone for fear of them damaging the house and mistreating his daughter. The soldiers also refused to allow the daughter of the house to accompany her mother to the hospital despite her mother being very traumatised and distressed.

The internationals went to the remaining 4 occupied buildings in the city but were refused entry to all of them, despite bringing food for the children of one house and stating a concern for the welfare of all those being held.

Four family homes were occupied in the Askar refugee camp and 1 in the Balata refugee camp. (For more information see report "Occupied Houses in Nablus" 3 Jun 03)

2 tanks and 6 jeeps (IOF & Border Police) drove around the centre of the city for most of the day, leading to many confrontations with stone throwing youths. Again the internationals who were in the area observing the incursion could not see any military or security reasons for the army's strong presence.

At 5pm 2 IOF jeeps were parked 500m from the main entrance to Balata refugee camp. While a soldier from one jeep was washing his windscreen, a soldier from the other jeep sang the Israeli national anthem over his loudspeaker. Surely actions like this must raise the question of why the army is here – for reasons of security/military or reasons of incitement?

These increased military measures come 6 days after the "Roadmap" peace talks in Jordan between Abu Mazen and Ariel Sharon where it was agreed that the restrictions put in place by the IOF on movement would be eased around the West Bank.



Balata Refugee Camp Imprisoned By Army and Roadblocks 12.15pm, Wednesday, June 4th 2003

Following a 13 hour Israeli Occupation Forces incursion yesterday (see report "1 killed, 48 injured During 13 Hours of IOF Incursions", June 4th 2003), today the IOF have had a constant presence in the camp since 6.30am this morning. Tanks, APCs (armoured personnel carriers), jeeps, hummers and a bulldozer have been driving around the camp, parking for some time and then driving deeper into the camp. At 6.30am an APC and 2 jeeps parked at the east side of the camp, at the end of Market Street (the Main Street), beeping their horns and sounding sirens randomly until at 8.30am the children of the camp responded by throwing stones. Responses have been taking place ever since. Warning shots of live rounds & rubber bullets and teargas has been used against these children who are responding to the army's presence.

The camp has been enclosed by 6 roadblocks. Large mounds of earth and 4 foot square concrete blocks, were put in place by the IOF last night. These roadblocks block the 2 main streets and other streets of the camp and severely hinder vehicular movement iin and around the camp, including emergency medical services. At 9.30am the local community, along with internationals, responded to the army's closure by opening a path in one roadblock. They have been prevented in continuing their non-voilent resistance because of the heavily armed military presence in the area.

These increased military activities and restrictive measures come 7 days after the "Roadmap" peace talks in Jordan between Abu Mazen and Ariel Sharon where it was agreed that the restrictions put in place by the IOF on movement would be eased around the West Bank.

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