J'lem suicide bombing thwarted

2 killed during clashes in Nablus, 2 while planting bomb near Gaza fence.

February 19, 2006 10:21
2 minute read.
helicopter 298

IAF copter cool 298.88. (photo credit: IDF [file])


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Border police arrested three Palestinian youth from Bethlehem around the ages of 17 and 18 on Sunday afternoon. The three were on their way to carry out a suicide bombing in Jersualem. No other information was available. Four Palestinians involved in terror activities were killed in separate incidents in the West Bank and Gaza on Sunday. Two were killed while attempting to place a bomb near the south Gaza security fence, and two others during clashes with soldiers operating in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus, where a widespread IDF operation is underway to rout out terrorists planning to launch attacks in Israel. In the early morning, two Palestinians who attempted to place a bomb near the southern Gaza security fence were killed in an IAF missile strike. According to the army, the two were spotted in a restricted area 30 meters from the fence south of the Kissufim crossing in southern Gaza. Air force helicopters fired two missiles which exploded killing the two. They were later identified as Bilal Najer, 18, and Osama Breis, 20, of Rafah, both members of the Popular Resistance Committee. Hours later, Palestinian Police informed the army that a bomb was found near the site where the two were killed. In a widespread operation dubbed "Zohar Tsfoni," aimed at damaging the terror infrastructure and arresting fugitives, two Palestinians were killed and nine wounded in gun battles with soldiers. One of the Palestinians killed was identified as a senior Fatah fugitive. Palestinian media reports claimed one of the wounded was Dr. Anan al Athira, a female doctor who suffered a head injury while tending to other Palestinians. Her condition was later listed as stable. Two of the wounded were identified as Mohammed Habash, 15, and Ramzi Salah,17. However, an officer in the Central Command said all those killed or wounded were either armed or attempting to detonate bombs near troops. Paratroopers and soldiers of the Haruv Batallion under the command of Samaria district commander Col. Yuval Bazak entered the camp late Saturday night due to mounting threats of plans by terrorists to launch attacks in Israel. The operation is expected to continue for a number of days. "Intensive IDF operations conducted in recent weeks to nab fugitives in northern Samaria have weakened existing terror infrastructures and have forced terrorists to transfer their activities to the Nablus area where they are planning attacks in Israel," an IDF officer told The Jerusalem Post. Four explosive belts caught by soldiers manning the Awarta checkpoint outside of Nablus in recent weeks, were part of those attempts, the officer said. On entering the camp, troops encountered fierce resistance, bombs were detonated near soldiers, and exchanges of gunfire erupted between Palestinian gunmen and troops. In addition soldiers also had to contend with mobs throwing stones and firebombs at them. During the day, security forces arrested one Fatah fugitive in the camp and an IDF bulldozer demolished a home where soldiers believed fugitives were hiding. Elsewhere in the West Bank, troops arrested an Islamic Jihad fugitive in Ilar north of Tulkarm. At a checkpoint at Salem northwest of Jenin, soldiers arrested a Palestinian caught carrying two knives.

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