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Cablegate: The Situation On the Ground March 13-15, 2004

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 001613

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 13-15, 2004
(1600 HOURS LOCAL) -- SUICIDE ATTACK BY TWO GAZA RESIDENTS
IN ASHDOD; SIX PALESTINIANS KILLED IN GAZA; ONE PALESTINIAN
KILLED IN WEST BANK.

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

1. (SBU) Summary. At approximately 1630 hours March 14, two
18-year-old residents of a Gaza refugee camp blew themselves
up at the Ashdod port, killing 10 and injuring 15. Hamas and
Islamic Jihad took joint responsibility for the attack. The
IDF killed one Palestinian when responding to a roadside
explosion near an IDF jeep on patrol near Taluza on March 13.
During the reporting period, 26 Palestinians were injured
during three separate anti-barrier clashes. In one of those
incidents Palestinians threw a firebomb, damaging an IDF
bulldozer. Nine Palestinians and one AmCit were arrested
during the reporting period. The AmCit was participating in
an anti-barrier demonstration northwest of Jerusalem. In
Gaza, the IDF shot and killed six suspected Palestinian
terrorists March 13-15. One Palestinian was lightly wounded
March 15 when the IDF targeted two Gaza City workshops where
Kassem rockets were allegedly manufactured. In addition,
Palestinians fired six mortar shells and three anti-tank
missiles, according to the IDF. In the wake of the March 14
terror attack in Ashdod, the Erez Crossing was closed to
Palestinian workers on March 15. End Summary.

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

2. (SBU) ATTACKS:

-- Death: The IDF killed one Palestinian March 13 during
clashes in Taluza village, near Nablus.

-- Injury: The IDF wounded seven Palestinians March 14 when
protesters tried to prevent work on the separation barrier
northwest of Jerusalem. One of the protesters threw a
firebomb, which damaged an Israeli bulldozer but caused no
injuries. Work did not continue on the barrier after the
protest.

-- Injury: The IDF injured one Palestinian March 14 in
Bethlehem when clashes broke out on the margins of a
demonstration mourning the death of Abu Abbas in Iraq.

-- Injury: Palestinians lightly injured an Israeli motorist
March 14 when they threw stones at the motorist,s car as it
traveled on Route 443 in the West Bank.

-- Injury: The IDF injured seven Palestinians March 13 in
Nilin village, where clashes erupted during protests against
work on the separation barrier.

-- Injury: The IDF injured 12 Palestinians with tear gas and
rubber-coated bullets during an anti-barrier clash March 15
near Dir Qaddis village.

-- Bomb: A roadside charge blew up near an IDF jeep on patrol
in Taluza village, near Nablus. No one was injured. This
incident led to an Israeli response that left one Palestinian
dead (see &Death8).

3. (SBU) ARRESTS:

-- The IDF arrested two Palestinians throughout the West Bank
March 13.

-- The IDF arrested seven Palestinians throughout the West
Bank March 14-15.

-- The IDF arrested one AmCit March 14 during a protest
against the separation barrier northwest of Jerusalem. She
was being transferred to a holding facility for women in
Hadera as of 1600 hours local.

4. (SBU) INCURSIONS/DEMOLITIONS:

-- The IDF mounted an incursion into Tulkarem March 15 and
took over four houses to use as observation posts.

----
GAZA
----

5. (SBU) ATTACKS:

--Deaths: According to the IDF, two Palestinians were shot
by IDF soldiers near the Nahal Oz Crossing on the morning of
March 13. The Palestinians were suspected of attempting to
infiltrate Nahal Oz. According to Israel Radio, a
Kalashnikov rifle, bullet clips, and hand grenades were found
next to the bodies.

-- The IDF also reported that it shot and killed three
Palestinians carrying an explosive device near Netzarim at
0930 hours March 14. The IDF subsequently dismantled the
explosive device.

-- According to UNRWA, on the morning of March 15 the IDF
shot and killed a Palestinian in the Shoka area of Rafah.
The IDF reported that the Palestinian was a suspect shot
during an arrest attempt.

-- Injuries: According to UNRWA, in the early morning hours
of March 15, one Palestinian was slightly injured when IDF
helicopters shot 10 missiles into two workshops suspected of
producing Kassem rockets in Gaza City in retaliation for the
March 14 Ashdod bombings. (See Israel, below.)

-- WAFA (Palestinian News Agency) reported that a 14-year-old
Palestinian was wounded in the shoulder by IDF gunfire in the
early morning hours of March 14.

-- Mortars/Rockets/Hand Grenades: The IDF reported that
Palestinians fired at least five mortar shells in three
separate incidents March 13: at 0750 hours March 14 at least
two shells were fired at Netzarim, at 1245 at least two
shells were fired at an IDF outpost west of Khan Yunis, and
at 1730 hours a mortar shell was fired at Dugit.

-- The IDF reported that Palestinians fired a mortar at IDF
soldiers located north of Netzarim at 1715 hours March 14,
and an anti-tank missile at an IDF outpost near Neve Dekalim
at 2140 hours. IDF also reported that two hand grenades were
used against IDF soldiers near Kissufim Crossing. No
injuries were reported.

-- Israel radio reported that Palestinians fired an anti-tank
rocket at a bus carrying civilians on the Karni-Netzarim road
on the morning of March 15. UNRWA reported that two
anti-tank rockets and a roadside charge were used against the
bus. Israel Radio reported that the bus was damaged but no
injuries were reported.

-- Catch-up: At 1225 hours March 12, Palestinians fired an
anti-tank missile at Netzarim village, according to the IDF

-- Shootings: In addition to the IDF initiated shooting of
two Palestinians noted in Deaths, above, during the reporting
period the IDF reported nine additional instances where
Palestinians shot at IDF soldiers in various locations in
Gaza.

-- Explosions: Nil.

6. (SBU) ARRESTS: Nil. (But see "Deaths," above.)

7. (SBU) INCURSIONS/DEMOLITIONS: Nil.

8. (SBU) BORDER CROSSINGS/CHECKPOINTS

-- Route Four (Salahadeen Road), the main north-south traffic
artery, was open for Palestinians during the reporting
period.

-- In the wake of the Ashdod bombings, Erez Crossing was
closed March 15. The Erez Industrial Zone was open.

-- Sufa Crossing was open March 14, but closed March 15 in
the wake of the Ashdod bombings.

-- Karni Terminal was open during the reporting period for
the import and export of goods into the Gaza Strip.

-- Rafah Terminal was open for Palestinian travelers during
the reporting period.

-- Tel al-Sultan checkpoint and Toufah checkpoint was open
for departures only on March 15, according to UNRWA.

7. (SBU) POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS:
According to press reports, the Palestinian Authority
released four Palestinians suspected of carrying out the
bombing of a U.S. diplomatic convoy March 15. Three U.S.
embassy personnel were killed in that attack, which took
place near the Erez crossing.

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

8. (SBU) At approximately 1630 hours March 14, two
18-year-old residents of a Gaza refugee camp blew themselves
up at the Ashdod port, killing 10 and injuring 15. Hamas and
Islamic Jihad took joint 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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