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The Israeli Siege on Balata Camp Continues

The Siege on Balata Camp Continues

Twenty-two year old Mohammad Subkhi Abu Hanade was shot in the chest with live ammunition while he was in his home by a sniper in an occupied house adjacent to his. A medical team and international volunteers who were in the vicinity say that the atmosphere was quiet when they heard two shots followed by screaming coming from the house. They immediately came in and found Abu Hanade bleeding heavily. After Mohammad was evacuated, a pregnant woman in the house went into what seemed to be shock induced labor and was also evacuated to hospital.

They say they saw no weapon, nor any apparent reason for the shooting. Israeli soldiers subsequently ordered Mohammad's family, a total of 12 people including two small babies, out of the house at 20:45 and detained them in the street for an hour and a half.

Since the incursion in Balata refugee camp started on 1:00 am February 19, Balata camp has been under ongoing curfew. In addition, The Israeli Military has made medical emergency work impossible. All entrances to Balata refugee camp are blocked. The one ambulance left in the camp brings the wounded only to the edge of the camp, as medical workers fear that the army would prevent the vehicle from re-entering.

The wounded are carried on stretchers to the entrance of the camp and transported to hospitals in Nablus. Normal ambulance traffic has come to a complete halt. International volunteers are working with ambulance personnel to transport the wounded to an emergency field clinic inside the camp and to hospitals in Nablus and other cities. They witnessed all following incidents or heard and confirmed them from ambulance personnel of the United Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UMPRC) and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS).

-07:15-An Israeli military Jeep shot in the direction of an ambulance and prevented it from approaching the camp.

-11:15-The military attempted to close the UN medical clinic by shooting warning shots and percussion grenades. They also prevented patients from entering the clinic.

-13:45-Mohammad Yousef was shot with a rubber coated metal bullet in the head while throwing stones at a military jeep on Jamal Abdel Nasser Street near the entrance of the camp. The bullet entered several centimetres into his skull. Today there were an additional 12 young men injured while throwing stones at the military jeeps, in Balata village. Another five were injured in the Balata refugee camp by rubber coated steal bullets.

-15:20-Four youths are injured by rubber coated steel bullets in Balata village. One of them is shot in the head.

-15:40-Israeli soldiers denied entry to a medical team attempting to deliver food and medicine into the camp. The Israeli soldiers also threatened to shoot them.

-18:00-Until the writing of this report, a large group of soldiers are surrounding a house in the Magdush neighbourhood in Balata camp. Soldiers have broken into neighbouring houses and broken windows and doors. In several instances today, soldiers drove through the camps cursing the residents' mothers and sisters in Arabic in what seemed to be an attempt to provoke the youth to throw stones. The volunteers have witnessed no armed resistance, only youth throwing stones and building barricades.

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