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Cablegate: The Situation On the Ground March 22, 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 02 TEL AVIV 001743

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 22, 2004 --
(1500 HOURS LOCAL) -- HAMAS LEADER SHAYKH YASIN AND SIX
OTHER PALESTINIANS KILLED IN IAF MISSILE ATTACK IN GAZA
CITY MARCH 22

1. (SBU) Summary: The IAF assassinated Hamas leader Shaykh
Ahmad Yasin in a missile attack in Gaza City March 22; six
other Palestinians were killed and 19 were wounded in the
attack (details reported septel). All entry and exit into
the Gaza Strip was stopped for Palestinians March 22 in the
wake of the attack. UNRWA reported that five Palestinians
were killed during an IDF incursion into Khan Yunis March 21,
and five other Palestinians, two of them children, were
killed in incidents throughout the Gaza Strip March 20-22.
In addition to those wounded in the IDF attack on Shaykh
Yasin, a total of 18 Palestinians and four IDF soldiers were
injured March 20-22 in the Gaza Strip. Due to technical
difficulties, the March 22 SitRep is being submitted
individually by Embassy Tel Aviv and ConGen Jerusalem. End
Summary.

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

2. (SBU) ATTACKS:

-- Deaths/Injuries: The IAF launched six missiles into a car
carrying Hamas spiritual leader Shaykh Ahmad Yasin March 22,
killing Yasin, two of his bodyguards and four other Hamas
members (Tel Aviv septel). A total of 19 Palestinians were
wounded in the attack, according to UNRWA.

-- Deaths/Injuries: A 13-year-old Palestinian boy was shot
and killed, and five other Palestinians were wounded March 22
in clashes with IDF troops near Khan Yunis following the
assassination of Shaykh Yasin, according to UNRWA.

-- Deaths/Injuries: One Palestinian was killed and one was
wounded March 22 when the bomb they attempted to fire at an
IDF outpost near Gadid settlement exploded prematurely,
according to UNRWA.

-- Deaths: UNRWA reported that two Palestinian gunmen were
shot and killed by IDF forces March 21 as they tried to reach
the Kissufim Road. One of the men killed was a member of PIJ
and the other was from the military wing of Fatah, according
to UNRWA.

-- Death: UNRWA reported that a nine-year-old Palestinian
girl, shot and seriously wounded when the IDF fired warning
shots into the air March 19 in Khan Yunis, died of her
injuries March 20.

-- Deaths: UNRWA reported that five Palestinians were shot
and killed March 21 during an IDF incursion into Khan Yunis
to arrest a wanted Palestinian (see "Incursions"). The IDF
claimed that only one Palestinian had been killed.

-- Injuries: One Palestinian was injured March 22 in clashes
with IDF troops south of the Abu Khouli checkpoint following
the assassination of Shaykh Yasin.

-- Injuries: Two Palestinians were injured March 22 in
clashes with IDF troops near Kfar Darom following the
assassination of Shaykh Yasin.

-- Injuries: Two Palestinians were injured in Rafah refugee
camp March 22 when Palestinians militants exchanged fire with
IDF troops.

-- Injuries: Two Palestinians were wounded March 20 in Khan
Yunis when the bomb they were preparing went off prematurely.

-- Injuries: UNRWA reported that four IDF soldiers were
lightly injured March 19 near Netzarim when a roadside bomb
exploded and overturned the tank in which they were
traveling.

-- Injuries: UNRWA reported that five Palestinians were shot
and injured March 19 during an IDF incursion into
al-Mughragha, near Netzarim (see "Incursions").

-- Mortars/Rockets: The IDF reported that Palestinians fired
seven mortars in the Gaza Strip March 19-21. Mortars and
anti-tank missiles were fired near Rafah and Khan Yunis March
22, according to the IDF.

-- Shootings: The IDF reported five shooting attacks
throughout the Gaza Strip March 19-21.

3. (SBU) ARRESTS:

-- UNRWA reported that four Palestinians were arrested March
21 during an IDF incursion into the Khan Yunis refugee camp
(see "Incursions").

-- UNRWA reported that nine Palestinians were arrested March
19 during an IDF incursion into the al-Mughragha area near
Netzarim. Seven of those held were later released.

4. (SBU) INCURSIONS/DEMOLITIONS:

-- UNRWA reported that armed clashes erupted in the
al-Mughragha area near Netzarim when three IDF bulldozers,
and 26 IDF tanks and jeeps, entered the area March 19. A
total of seven houses and seven shops were destroyed, and
water pipes and electrical wiring was also damaged. Five
Palestinians were shot and injured, and nine Palestinians
were arrested. In addition, four IDF soldiers were lightly
wounded when a roadside bomb exploded, overturning the tank
in which they were traveling. Hamas claimed responsibility
for the attack on the tank.

-- UNRWA reported that 20 IDF tanks and jeeps, accompanied by
three bulldozers, entered the Abassan village east of Khan
Yunis March 21. Palestinian militants fired anti-tank
missiles and detonated explosive devices near the Israeli
troops; IDF troops demolished three houses and damaged
another five, as well as damaging a flour mill and two
stores. The IDF claimed they shot one Palestinian who was
trying to evade arrest; Palestinians claimed five
Palestinians were killed. Four Palestinians were arrested.

5. (SBU) BORDER CROSSINGS/CHECKPOINTS

-- Route Four (Salahadeen Road), the main north-south traffic
artery, was open for Palestinians March 20-21. The Road was
closed March 22 following the IDF assassination of Hamas
leader Shaykh Yasin.

-- The Erez Crossing was open March 21, and 7,391 Palestinian
laborers crossed into Israel. All workers must be married
and over age 35. The Crossing was closed March 20 and 22.
The Erez Industrial Zone was open March 20-21, with 2,495
workers entering the Zone March 20 and 3,619 entering March
21. The Erez Industrial Zone was closed March 22.

-- Sufa Crossing was open for Palestinian workers March 21,
and 352 workers crossed. Sufa was also open March 21 for the
import into Gaza of aggregates used in construction. Sufa
Crossing was completely closed March 20 and 22.

-- Karni Terminal was partially open March 21 for the import
and export of goods into the Gaza Strip. It was closed March
20 and 22.

-- Rafah Terminal was open for Palestinian travelers March
20-21. Rafah was closed March 22.

-- Tel al-Sultan Toufah checkpoints were open March 20-21.
Both checkpoints were closed March 22.


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