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Monday, December 25, 2006

Report: IDF seizes Jihad man in Bethlehem; 2 Qassams fired

Last update - 10:38 25/12/2006   

Report: IDF seizes Jihad man in Bethlehem; 2 Qassams fired
By Mijal Greenberg and Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondents

Israel Defense Forces troops operating in the West Bank overnight arrested a wanted Islamic Jihad activist in Bethlehem, site of major Christmas observances, as well as four Fatah fugitives in Ramallah, Israel Radio reported Monday.
Early on Monday, a Palestinian Qassam rocket landed just inside Israeli territory near the northern Gaza Strip border fence, the radio said.
A second Qassam was fired soon after, but it is unclear where it struck.
There were no reports of injuries or damage.
On Sunday evening, a Qassam struck near a nursery school in the western Negev town of Sderot, bringing to four the number of rockets fired at Israel on Sunday.
In the West Bank late Sunday, an Israeli was wounded Sunday in a shooting attack northwest of Ramallah.
The man apparently came under Palestinian fire while he was driving on the route that connects the settlements of Oferim and Neveh Tzuf, near the Palestinian village of Dir Abu Meshal.
He sustained moderate leg wounds.
An Israel Defense Forces medical team was called to the scene, and began treating the injured man. He was later evacuated to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva.
The attackers fled the scene and apparently headed southward. IDF troops are currently searching the area in an attempt to capture the attackers and the road on which the attack occurred is currently closed to traffic.
Defense establishment sources said Saturday they believe Palestinian extremists would try to carry out terrorist attacks in order to bring about an escalation of violence in the wake of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' meeting Saturday night.
Four Qassam rockets fired at Israel from Gaza on Sunday
After a day without rocket strikes, Palestinians fired four Qassam rockets at the western Negev on Sunday, hours after a meeting between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
One rocket hit near a Sderot nursery school on Sunday evening, causing damage to the building and nearby homes. The rocket also damaged streetlights and electricity lines. Eight people were treated for schock, including a woman who suffered from ringing in her ears and was evacuated to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.
A rocket hit a field between Sderot a local kibbutz earlier in the day, and a second struck in an open field. No injuries or damage were reported in either strike.
The IDF identified a fourth rocket being launched from the Gaza Strip, although it could not be immediately determined where it hit.
Almost 50 rockets have been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip since a cease-fire agreement was reached between Israel and the Palestinians some four weeks ago.
The Israel Defense Forces refrained from responding to the attacks in accordance with the instructions of the government echelon to continue a policy of restraint in the face of the continuing Qassam fire.
Security sources report that Defense Minister Amir Peretz and the top military tier all support a move to ease some of the limitations imposed on the IDF by the cease-fire with the Palestinians.
Peretz suggested to the prime minister that he allow the IDF to fire only at identified Qassam rocket launching cells, despite the cease-fire. Olmert rejected the recommendation, in light of the progress that he has been making in talks with Abbas.
The Prime Minister's office issued a statement saying that Olmert had expressed his concern over the continued Qassam fire to Abbas at their meeting Saturday. According to the statement, Olmert told Abbas that Israel would be forced to abandon the restraint policy if the Palestinians continue to violate the cease-fire.

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