Fatah, Hamas slam Nablus operation

Abbas pushes for UNSC review of IDF actions, complains to Quartet.

February 24, 2006 17:44
2 minute read.
abbas 88 AP

abbas 88 AP. (photo credit: AP)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and incoming Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh found something to agree upon on Friday, as both condemned the IDF's five-day-long Operation Northern Lights in the Balata refugee camp near Nablus. Abbas warned the operation would endanger a cease-fire that has been in effect for a year, according to the Palestinian WAFA news agency. Army Radio reported Friday evening that Abbas was trying to arrange a session of the United Nations Security Council in order to discuss the IDF's Operation Northern Lights that was underway this week in Nablus. He specifically called for an investigation into the killing of Palestinians during the operation. Abbas also called on Quartet representatives and asked them to demand that Israel stop its targeted assassinations of terror leaders. In Nablus, Friday, thousands of Palestinians, including dozens of gunmen firing in the air, joined a funeral procession for four of the five Palestinians killed Thursday in Balata. The IDF said those shot had carried firearms or thrown thrown firebombs. One of those killed was Mohammed Shtawi, a leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a terror group linked to Abbas' Fatah Party. Operatives chanted "revenge! revenge! revenge!" on loudspeakers. Rabiya Abu Liel, an al-Aqsa Brigades leader, vowed: "What they did to us we will do to them. They killed our leader so we will kill their leaders." On Wednesday, Shtawi told an AP reporter that soldiers had surrounded his hideout for five hours that day, but he and several friends slipped away. "They will never catch me," he said at the time. By early Friday, troops had left Balata. Eight Palestinians were killed in the Balata operation since Sunday. Palestinian hospital officials said that more than 50 Palestinians had been injured by live rounds and rubber-coated steel pellets. The IDF said 15 fugitives had been arrested. In Gaza City on Thursday evening, Hamas backers marched toward the Palestinian parliament building to protest Israel's operation in Nablus. Addressing the rally, Haniyeh denounced the "aggression committed against our people." He said Hamas has a two-pronged program for the people: "One hand resists and the other hand builds." Early Friday, security forces killed two Palestinians near Kissufim. IDF sources said that a bomb was found next to the first of the two. The second Palestinian was killed when troops identified a group of four Palestinians approaching the security fence. Troops opened fire on the group, killing one and arresting a second. One of the Palestinians killed near Kissufim was the son of Hamas lawmaker Abdel Fattah Dukhan. At the funeral for Dukhan's son, Haniyeh vowed that the Palestinians "will not be broken" by the Israeli military operations. The army also launched an airstrike early Friday at a group of terrorists who were firing rockets at Israeli targets. Also Friday, a Hamas operative was killed in Gaza while handling explosives. Hamas identified the man as Abed Moati Abu Daf, 28, "the most prominent trainer" of terrorists in Gaza, and said he died on a "training mission."

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