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Cablegate: The Situation On the Ground: March 3, 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 001326

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 3, 2004 (1400
HOURS LOCAL) -- IAF KILLS THREE HAMAS MILITANTS NEAR
NETZARIM; ONE PALESTINIAN KILLED IN TULKAREM SHOOTOUT


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

1. (SBU) Summary: The IDF killed three Hamas militants March
3 near Netzarim after the three had reportedly fired two
mortars at Netzarim settlement. Two missiles, believed to
have been fired from an F-16, destroyed the militants'
vehicle and killed the occupants as they tried to leave the
area. Two bystanders were also wounded. In the West Bank,
the IDF shot and killed one Palestinian in Tulkarem during an
exchange of fire with Palestinian gunmen. The IDF later
raided a hospital and arrested militants who were wounded in
the shootout. A Palestinian protester who was seriously
injured February 26 when the IDF used lethal force to
disperse anti-fence demonstrators in Biddu died March 2. End
Summary.

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

2. (SBU) ATTACKS:

-- Death: The IDF March 3 shot and killed one Palestinian in
Tulkarem during an exchange of fire with gunmen. The dead
man was identified by Palestinian sources as Qays Aref Ofeh,
said to be a member of al-Aqsa Martyrs, Brigades. The IDF
later raided a hospital to arrest militants who had been
wounded in the shootout.

-- Death: A Palestinian protester who was seriously injured
February 26 when the IDF used lethal force to disperse
anti-fence demonstrators in Biddu died March 2.

3. (SBU) ARRESTS:

-- The IDF March 2 arrested 16 Palestinians at locations
throughout the West Bank.

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

4. (SBU) ATTACKS:

-- Deaths/Injuries: The IDF killed three Hamas militants
March 3 near Netzarim after the three had reportedly fired
two mortars at Netzarim settlement. Two missiles, believed
to have been fired from an F-16, destroyed the militants'
vehicle and killed the occupants as they tried to leave the
area. Two bystanders were also wounded.

-- Mortars/Rockets: The IDF reported that one mortar was
fired near Khan Yunis March 2, and the IDF fired tank shells
at a Palestinian-owned building north of Rafah March 3.

-- Shootings: The IDF reported a total of four shootings
March 2-3: three near Khan Yunis, and one near Netzarim.

-- Shootings: UNRWA reported that several houses were damaged
in during clashes near Gadid settlement when the IDF returned
fire at the Austrian Housing Project in Khan Yunis.

-- Explosions: An explosive device was found and safely
detonated south of Rafah March 3, according to the IDF.

5. (SBU) BORDER CROSSINGS/CHECKPOINTS

-- Route Four (Salahadeen Road), the main north-south traffic
artery, was open for Palestinians March 3.

-- Erez Crossing was open March 3, and 8,850 Palestinian
laborers crossed into Israel. All workers must be married
and over age 35. The Erez Industrial Zone was also open,
with 3,024 workers entering the Zone.

-- Sufa Crossing was open for Palestinian workers March 3,
but the number of workers who crossed was unavailable. Sufa
was also open March 3 for the import into Gaza of aggregates
used in construction.

-- Karni Terminal was open March 3 for the import and export
of goods into the Gaza Strip.

-- Rafah Terminal was open for Palestinian travelers March 3.

-- Tel al-Sultan checkpoint was closed March 3. Toufah
checkpoint was open for residents of al-Mowassi.


********************************************* ********************
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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