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Cablegate: The Situation On the Ground: March 4, 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 03 TEL AVIV 001368

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 4, 2004 (1400
HOURS LOCAL) -- IDF INCURSION INTO RAFAH LEAVES 12-YEAR-OLD
BOY DEAD; FOUR OTHER PALESTINIANS WOUNDED


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

1. (SBU) Summary: A 12-year-old boy was shot and killed
March 4 during an IDF incursion into the Zorub section of the
Rafah refugee camp to search for tunnels used to smuggle
weapons. Four others, including three more children between
the ages of eight and 11, were wounded. One Palestinian was
killed and 11 others, reportedly members of his family, were
wounded March 4 in Rafah when an explosive device the man was
assembling detonated prematurely. In the West Bank, the IDF
is conducting an investigation, ongoing as of 1630, into an
explosion in Kifl Haris village that may have been caused by
a suicide bomber whose charge detonated prematurely. An
Israeli motorist was lightly wounded March 3 when a roadside
bomb exploded as she was driving on Route 60 near Bayt Ummar
village. End Summary.

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

2. (SBU) ATTACKS:

-- Death: An explosion in Kifl Haris village around 1430
hours led to rumors that the blast was caused when a suicide
bomber on his way to Israel exploded prematurely. The story
was not confirmed at 1630 hours. Reports indicated that the
IDF was looking for the source of the blast.

-- Injury: An Israeli motorist was lightly injured March 3
when a roadside bomb blew up as she drove down Route 60 near
Bayt Ummar village. The rear of the car was severely
damaged.
-- Bomb: Molotov cocktails were thrown March 3 at
Jewish-owned houses in Jerusalem,s Old City. No one was
injured.

-- Bomb: Palestinians March 3 threw a firebomb at an Israeli
motorist's car in Hebron. No one was injured.

-- Shooting: Gunmen fired at the Bayt Jala DCO,s office
around midnight between March 3 and 4. No one was injured.

3. (SBU) ARRESTS:

-- The IDF March 3 arrested 11 Palestinians throughout the
West Bank.

-- The IDF March 4 arrested three Palestinians during an raid
in Jenin.

4. (SBU) DEMOLITIONS:

-- The Israeli High Court rejected a petition filed by
Palestinians asking the court to block the planned demolition
of two houses along "Worshippers, Way," between Kiryat Arba
and Hebron.

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

5. (SBU) ATTACKS:

-- Deaths/Injuries: Israeli media reported that one
Palestinian, reportedly a member of the Popular Resistance
Committee, was killed March 4 in Block N of the Rafah refugee
camp after the bomb he was assembling exploded prematurely.
Also injured in the blast were 11 others, two seriously,
according to UNRWA (see "Explosions").

-- Death/Injuries: UNRWA reported that a 12-year-old
Palestinian boy was shot and killed March 4 during an
exchange of fire that broke out during an IDF incursion into
the Rafah refugee camp. Four others, including three
children between the ages of eight and 11, were also wounded
(see "Incursions/Demolitions").

-- Injuries: One settler was injured March 4 when a rocket,
reportedly a Qassam, was fired on Netzarim, according to
Israeli media.

-- Catch-up item: Injury: A Palestinian was shot in the foot
when the IDF exchanged fire with Palestinian gunmen near Neve
Dekalim March 2, according to UNRWA.

-- Mortars/Rockets: The IDF reported that two anti-tank
missiles were fired at Kfar Darom settlement March 3 and one
anti-tank missile was fired at an IDF outpost west of Khan
Yunis March 4.

-- Shootings: The IDF reported a total of seven shooting
attacks March 4: three near Khan Yunis, three near Rafiah
Yam, and one at an IDF outpost south of Rafah.

-- Explosions: UNRWA reported that three house were totally
destroyed and 22 others were damaged March 4 in Block N of
the Rafah refugee camp, when a bomb being prepared by Awni
Kollab, reportedly a member of the Popular Resistance
Committee, exploded prematurely. Awni was killed and 11
others, reportedly family members, were wounded in the blast.

-- Catch-up item: Explosions: UNRWA reported that a homemade
bomb and two Molotov cocktails were thrown into the courtyard
of the UNRWA girls elementary school in Jabaliya refugee camp
March 2, just after the students had returned to their
classes after recess. No injuries or damage was reported
when the bomb exploded, and PA police successfully removed
the two unexploded Molotov cocktails.

6. (SBU) INCURSIONS/DEMOLITIONS:

-- UNRWA reported a large IDF incursion into the Zorub area
of the Rafah refugee camp March 4, reportedly to search for
tunnels used to smuggle weapons. A 12-year-old Palestinian
boy was shot and killed, and four others, including three
children between the ages of eight and 11, were wounded. An
unknown number of buildings were destroyed. As of 1500
hours, the operation was ongoing.

-- UNRWA reported that exchanges of gunfire erupted March 3
in the al-Salam quarter of the Rafah refugee camp when 12 IDF
tanks and APCs, accompanied by four bulldozers, entered the
area to level previously demolished houses. No injuries were
reported.

7. (SBU) BORDER CROSSINGS/CHECKPOINTS

-- Route Four (Salahadeen Road), the main north-south traffic
artery, was open for Palestinians March 4.

-- Erez Crossing was open March 4, and 9,064 Palestinian
laborers crossed into Israel. All workers must be married
and over age 35. The Erez Industrial Zone was also open,
with 3,053 workers entering the Zone for work March 4.

-- Sufa Crossing was open for Palestinian workers March 4 and
348 workers crossed. Sufa was also open March 4 for the
import into Gaza of aggregates used in construction.

-- Catch-up data for Sufa: On March 3, 306 laborers crossed
into Israel.

-- Karni Terminal was open March 4 for the import and export
of goods into the Gaza Strip.

-- Rafah Terminal was open for Palestinian travelers March 4.

-- Tel al-Sultan checkpoint was closed March 4. Toufah
checkpoint was open for residents of al-Mowassi.

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

8. (SBU) Israeli media reported that two Israeli Arab
brothers, reportedly senior activists in the Sons of the
Village movement, were arrested March 4 in the Galilee
village of Arabe on suspicion of contacts with Hizballah.
The two are also accused of supplying electrical appliances
and instructions for bomb-making to Popular Front activist
Anas Abdel-Aziz, after allegedly being recruited by a member
of the Abu Musa Fatah faction.

9. (SBU) Israeli media reported that the Haifa District
Court sentenced two Israeli-Arabs from the village of Kfar
Manda to 20 years apiece, and a third man to 14 years for
conspiring to carry out terror attacks in Israel.

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