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Cablegate: The Situation On the Ground: March 1, 2004 (1400

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 001259

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

NEA FOR BURNS/SATTERFIELD
NEA/SA/EX FOR AUSTIN-FERGUSON; DEPT FOR DS/IP/NEA;
DEPT FOR DS/IP/ITA; DRL FOR A/S CRANER;
NSC FOR ABRAMS/DANIN;
USAID FOR DCHA, DCHA/FPP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KWBG PTER ASEC PHUM CASC KPAL IS GZ
SUBJECT: THE SITUATION ON THE GROUND: MARCH 1, 2004 (1400
HOURS LOCAL) -- IAF KILLS THREE MILITANTS AND WOUNDS NINE
BYSTANDERS IN GAZA CITY FEBRUARY 28; ISRAELI COUPLE KILLED
NEAR HEBRON FEBRUARY 27

THIS IS A JOINT MESSAGE FROM EMBASSY TEL AVIV AND CONGEN
JERUSALEM.

1. (SBU) Summary: The IAF killed three militants from
Palestinian Islamic Jihad February 28 in a missile attack in
the Shaykh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City. Nine passersby,
including a 10-year-old child, were wounded. The IDF
demolished 85 kiosks and small vending stands near the Erez
Industrial Zone February 27 while searching for a tunnel
reportedly used by the gunmen who carried out the February 26
shooting attack at Zone. One tunnel was found. An Israeli
couple was shot and killed February 27 when their vehicle was
ambushed by two gunmen on the green line near Hebron. In the
West Bank, one Palestinian was killed in clashes in the
Balata refugee camp, and a second Palestinian was killed in
violence that erupted during funeral of the person killed
earlier. A total of 19 Palestinians were arrested February
27-29 in the West Bank. End Summary.

---------
West Bank
---------

2. (SBU) ATTACKS:

-- Deaths: The IDF February 29 killed one Palestinian during
clashes in the Balata refugee camp. Another Palestinian was
killed in violence that erupted during the funeral of the
person killed earlier.

-- Injury: The IDF February 27 shot and seriously wounded a
Palestinian boy during a raid near Nablus that also netted
three arrests.

-- Injury: One Palestinian was seriously wounded by an
explosion in Tulkarem February 29, in an apparent "work
accident."

3. (SBU) ARRESTS:

-- The IDF February 27 arrested three Palestinians near
Nablus (see "Injury" above).

-- The IDF February 28 arrested four Palestinians near
Hebron.

-- The IDF February 29 arrested 12 Palestinians throughout
the West Bank.

----------
Gaza Strip
----------

4. (SBU) ATTACKS:

-- Death: UNRWA reported that a Palestinian suicide bomber on
a bicycle exploded his charges near an IDF outpost east of
Kfar Darom settlement February 27 after he was stopped by IDF
soldiers. The bomber was killed; no other injuries were
reported. PIJ claimed responsibility for the attack.

-- Deaths/Injuries: UNRWA reported that at 1850 hours
February 28, IAF helicopters fired two missiles at a car
traveling in the Shaykh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City,
killing three members of the al-Quds Brigades, the militant
arm of PIJ. In addition, nine passersby, including a
10-year-old child, were injured, according to UNRWA.

-- Injury: UNRWA reported that a Hamas activist was seriously
wounded February 28 near Khan Yunis when the bomb upon which
he was working exploded prematurely.

-- Injury: A 13-year-old Palestinian boy was wounded by
shrapnel February 28 while sitting at his desk in school when
IDF soldiers opened fire near the Khan Yunis refugee camp,
according to UNRWA.

-- Injury: A Palestinian woman was shot in the hand during an
exchange of fire between Palestinian militants in the Zurub
area of Rafah and IDF soldiers stationed near at the border
fence with Egypt.

-- Mortars/Rockets: The IDF reported that an anti-tank
missile struck and damaged a house in Neve Dekalim settlement
February 27. No injuries were reported. Israeli media
reported that the missile was "more advanced" in type than a
Qassam rocket.

-- Mortars/Rockets: The IDF reported that two mortars were
fired on Netzarim February 29 and one anti-tank missile was
fired at an IDF outpost east of Khan Yunis March 1.

-- Shootings: The IDF reported a total of four shooting
incidents February 27-28: two near Netzarim, and one each
near Khan Yunis and Karni.

5. (SBU) SECURITY INCIDENTS:

-- UNRWA reported that masked and armed militants from the
al-Aqsa Brigades took over PA television offices and
repeaters near Ma'en February 28, demanding that they be
given jobs. After several hours of negotiation with PA
officials, the militants left the station. No injuries were
reported.

6. (SBU) INCURSIONS/DEMOLITIONS:

-- On February 27, an IDF APC, three jeeps and two bulldozers
entered the area west of the Salahadeen Road to search for a
tunnel reportedly used by the two gunmen who carried out the
February 26 shooting attack at the Erez Industrial Zone. At
least 85 kiosks and vending stands were destroyed, and
Israeli media reported that one tunnel containing PA police
uniforms and excavation equipment was found.

7. (SBU) BORDER CROSSINGS/CHECKPOINTS

-- Route Four (Salahadeen Road), the main north-south traffic
artery, was open for Palestinians February 28-March 1.

-- The Erez Crossing was largely open (with sporadic closures
- see "Incursions/Demolitions") February 28-March 1, and on
February 28, 288 Palestinian laborers crossed into Israel; on
February 29, 10,066 laborers crossed, and on March 1, 9,176
laborers crossed. All workers must be married and over age
35. The Erez Industrial Zone was closed February 28-29 due
to the February 26 shooting attack at the entrance to the
Zone. The Zone re-opened March 1, and 3,037 workers entered
the Zone for work.

-- Sufa Crossing was open for Palestinian workers February 28
and 113 workers crossed. On February 29 the Crossing was
closed for laborers, but the Crossing re-opened March 1 and
285 laborers crossed. Sufa was closed for the import into
Gaza of aggregates used in construction on February 28, but
open February 29 and March 1.

-- Karni Terminal was closed February 28, but open February
29-March 1 for the import and export of goods into the Gaza
Strip.

-- Rafah Terminal was open for Palestinian travelers February
28-March 1.

-- Tel al-Sultan checkpoint was closed February 28-March 1.
Toufah checkpoint was open for the passage of al-Mowassi
residents all three days.

------
Israel
------

8. (SBU) An Israeli couple was shot and killed February 27
when their vehicle was ambushed by two gunmen along the green
line on Lahav-Ashkelon Road near Hebron. The two gunmen
escaped. The PFLP General Command and the al-Aqsa Brigades
both claimed responsibility for the attack.

********************************************* ********************
Visit Embassy Tel Aviv's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/telaviv

You can also access this site through the State Department's
Classified SIPRNET website.
********************************************* ********************
KURTZER

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