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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Le siège de Beit Hanoun

by B.D.

Gaza Strip: Beit Hanoun Under Siege by the Israelis

Translated Sunday 12 November 2006

Middle East. A major offensive by the Israeli army in the ’northern Gaza Strip.’

Three Palestinians, including a woman, demonstrating on the road to Beit Hanoun demanding the departure of the Israeli Army from this town were killed last Friday by Israelis firing on them. More than twenty others were wounded. A second woman is in a state of “clinical death”, according to a doctor from the Beit Lahya hospital, in a nearby town.

Beit Hanoun, whose population is approximately 30,000, has been under siege by Israeli forces since last Wednesday 1 November. The Israeli army contends that this operation, one of the largest since the capture of an Israeli soldier on June 25th, is aimed at stopping missiles ’from’ being fired into the south of Israel. Twenty-three Palestinians have died in the Gaza strip, since the beginning of the offensive ’four days ago.’

Some fifteen Palestinians, stuck since last Thursday in the Beit Hanoun mosque, cordoned off by the Israeli Army, managed to escape thanks to hundreds of people, half of them women, serving as human shields. According to the French Press Agency (AFP), about 400 demonstrators were still gathered Friday at ’Beit Hanoun’s western gate’ facing Israeli tanks, parked about 300 meters from the demonstrators. Helicopters were flying overhead and were firing sporadically to disperse the crowd.

In a separate incident, a Palestinian government minister had been arrested by the Israeli army on Friday 27 October, at his home in Ramallah on the West Bank: Abdelrahmane Zidane, minister of housing and public works in the ’Hamas controlled’ Palestinian Government. This has been confirmed by the Palestinian vice-prime minister, Nasseredine Al-Chaer. Earlier, a spoke’s’man ’for’ the Israeli army, had referred to "the arrest of a Hamas terrorist in Ramallah”, without disclosing his identity.

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