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Vowing to Collectively Punish all Palestinians,
IOF Re-occupy Hebron


Palestine Media Center- (PMC)

Israeli Occupation Forces, (IOF) backed by some thirty tanks and armored vehicles, invaded the southern West bank City of Hebron Saturday evening and imposed a curfew on the city’s residents, in retaliation to a Friday night shooting, which resulted in the killing of 12 Israelis, all soldiers and settlement security personals according to army sources.

In contrast to a version of events given by the Israeli foreign ministry, Israeli army sources said the Islamic Jihad fire was not directed at worshippers but at the security forces escorting them.

All of the dead were from IOF, Border Police or emergency security teams of the settlement of “Kiryat Arba” and Hebron.

The Islamic Jihad said the attack was in retaliation to the assassination of their military wing leader Iyad Sawalha, during a previous IOF invasion of Jenin, more than a week ago.

The Israeli state-run radio quoted sources at the Prime Minister’s office as saying that the occupation army would carry out what they called “a harsh response” against the Palestinians in Hebron, following Friday’s attack.

In addition, recently appointed Israeli ‘defense’ minister Shaul Mofaz told US Secretary of State Colin Powell on Saturday that IOF have been given a “green light” to carry out a wide-scaled and intensified military attack on Hebron.

Earlier in Hebron, witnesses said IOF, backed by helicopter gunships and tanks opened machinegun fire indiscriminately on residents’ homes, resulting in a number of casualties and heavy material damage not yet known.

It is not clear yet how many civilians were injured or if any was killed in the shooting since the Israeli army barred the media and medical rescuers from accessing much of the city.

IOF also stormed the Abu Sneineh and Jaber neighborhoods, carrying out house-to-house searches during which residents were beaten, harassed and their property vandalized.

Palestinian security sources said IOF troops stormed into dozens of citizens homes located in other areas in the city as well.

The sources further stated that at least 41 civilians were detained in the early hours of the raid, adding that the number of detainees is expected to rise due to the wide-scale detention spree conducted by the invading troops.

Moreover, dozens of armed Israeli settlers rampaged through several Palestinian neighborhoods, opening fire on doors, windows and water containers on rooftops.

Settlers, protected by IOF soldiers, were also seen vandalizing and breaking into Palestinian businesses in Hebron’s Old Quarter.

There are about 450 illegal Jewish settlers living in Hebron under heavy army guard, among 130,000 Palestinian resident.

The city was divided into Israeli and Palestinian-controlled sectors under an interim peace deal signed in January 1997 by President Yasser Arafat and then Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Elsewhere in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Palestinian medical and security sources said an elder, in his mid sixty’s, was killed on Saturday when IOF indiscriminately opened fire at him.

The victim was identified as Mousa Al-Maharieq, Palestinian security sources confirmed, adding that the victim, who is a shepherd, was killed in cold blood by IOF while he was in nearby fields in the town of Qalqilya.

In the Gaza Strip and for the second time in less than 24 hours, Israeli Apache gunships fired several air-to-surface missiles at civilian workshops located in the heart of Gaza City.

The Israeli missiles inflicted severe damage to the workshops and nearby buildings, Palestinian security sources said.

Earlier on Saturday, two Israeli American-made gunships carried out a similar raid on central Gaza City, destroying a metal workshop and injuring eight Palestinians, security sources said.

At least five air-to-surface missiles were fired at the building, which housed the metal workshop and a goldsmith’s workshop, completely destroying it and damaging 10 nearby houses in the central industrial area.