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Israel Forces Bulldoze Ancient Sector To Rubble

IOF Bulldoze Palestinian History in Nablus, Reoccupy Jenin

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Friday embarked on dynamiting and bulldozing the archeological heart of the Qasaba (old city) of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, claiming that “wanted” Palestinian activists are hiding in tunnels underneath, and killed a teenager, while reoccupying Jenin hours after declaring they were ending an 18-month siege of the town.

Nablus, especially its Qasaba, has been under curfew for the past eight days.

The IOF dynamited and bulldozed the wreckage of Al Sha’bi house, next to the more than 500 old Qassre Al Abdul Hadi in the Qasaba, thus threatening the archeological heart of Nablus.

IOF demolished Al Sha’bi house in April 2002, killing seven family members under the wreckage.

Qassre Al Abdul Hadi was home to 19 Palestinian families before IOF evacuated them eight days ago together with hundreds of the inhabitants of the Qasaba. Hundreds others are confined to their houses ever since.

The Palestine National Authority (PNA) Minister of Labor Ghasan al-Khateeb on Saturday appealed to the United Nations, UNESCO and the world community to move swiftly to save Nablus historical treasures from destruction.

Situated 63km north of Jerusalem between the mountains of Gerzim and Ebal, present Nablus was founded in 72 AD by the Roman Emperor Titus in honor of his father Flavius Vespasian on the site of a Canaanite ancient village of Maborta. It was called Flavia Neapolis, the “New City,” until 636 AD when the Arabs took the town, changing its name to Nablus.

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Known as the site of biblical Shechem, Nablus is the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank.

Historically, Abraham traveled through Shechem on his way to Canaan and offered his first sacrifice to God.

Ten Palestinians were wounded when Israeli troops opened fire on stone-throwing demonstrators in Nablus late Friday, Palestinian media reported on Saturday.

Majdi Qullab, 21, was in critical condition after being hit in the stomach, arm and leg by live gunfire, the sources said. Another youth was in moderate condition after being hit by rubber bullets, they added.

On Friday night, a large roadside bomb blew up next to an IOF military jeep in Nablus, causing no injuries, the IOF said, confirming the report. The blast reverberated throughout the city, knocking out power in the immediate area, witnesses said.

However media reports said two IOF officers were lightly wounded by the bomb.

Palestinian security sources and witnesses told Aljazeera satellite TV station the blast damaged an IOF jeep driving some 300 meters (yards) from Joseph's Tomb.

The attack was claimed by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.

Meanwhile, the Intifada, or Palestinian uprising against the 36-year old Israeli occupation, entered 2004 with the death of another young Palestinian in the West Bank.

Earlier on Thursday Palestinian teenager Muhammad Jabir Sae’eid, 16, who had been shot by IOF troops near Nablus, died in the Rafidiya hospital.

IOF Reoccupy Jenin

Separately IOF troops stormed back into Jenin scarcely 24 hours after declaring they were ending an 18-month siege of the city and a four-month total blockade on the northern West Bank town, Palestinian security sources and witnesses said.

On Friday around 15 jeeps and tanks moved into the city and began surrounding several houses in the eastern sector, provoking clashes with Palestinian stone-throwers, they said.

But an IOF spokesman denied the reinvasion was a fresh reoccupation of the city, saying troops were merely conducting routine searches.

“On Thursday we decided to remove the encirclement around the city but this doesn't mean that the force will not go back in to carry out patrols or conduct searches,” he told AFP.

"Routine searches will be carried out and if necessary, arrests will be made,” he said.

On Friday also, IOF soldiers detained ten Palestinians suspected to involvement in anti-Israeli attacks in Jenin, seven of them in the nearby village of Yamun, Palestinian security sources said.

On the same day the IOF detained 13 Palestinians in a raid into the Palestinian villages of Beit Immar and al-Arub in southern West Bank. Strict curfew was imposed on Beit Immar.

Earlier IOF deported 25-year-old Palestinian Mustafa Abed from Balata refugee camp next to Nablus, to the Gaza Strip late Wednesday. Abed was the last of a group of 18 who were deported from the West Bank to Gaza.

In Gaza Strip IOF on Friday demolished a Palestinian national security building east of the Gaza Strip town of Deir al-Balah.

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