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News ::
03 Dec 2002
Here are two versions of yesterday's "clashes" in the occupied territories. One from the "liberal" Haaretz, the other from the Chicago Tribune. IT'S WORTH READING

Here's the Haaretz article (tagged-on to a story of a 95 year-old Palestinian woman who was shot to death by Israeli forces).

"Four Palestinians killed Monday in territories
Four Palestinians were killed Monday in separate incidents in the territories.

In the West Bank, a 16-year-old boy was killed after climbing onto an Israel Defense
Forces armored personnel carrier; another youth was shot and killed in a clash with

In the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian laborer was killed by a mortar fired by Palestinian
militants near the Erez crossing, while an Islamic Jihad terrorist was killed in a gun battle
with troops.

Two IDF soldiers were lightly injured in the incidents.

A large Golani Brigade force carried out operations in the West Bank city of Jenin and its
refugee camp. The operation netted 13 Palestinians, including two wanted Islamic Jihad
men - Morad Hasnin, who is suspected of planning suicide bombings and perpetrating
shooting attacks, and Mohammed Abu-Akar, who is also alleged to have been involved in
planning suicide attacks.

Abu-Akar was apprehended in possession of two rifles and a number of magazines.

The IDF operation was met with Palestinian resistance in the form of gunfire. One soldier
sustained light injuries and was evacuated for treatment at Ha'emek Hospital in Afula.
Aside from the 16-year-old who was shot and killed after climbing onto an APC, a
number of other Palestinians were injured in the clashes.

Elsewhere, the Border Police's special undercover unit carried out operations in Tul
Karm, searching for activists in Fatah's military wing. Here too, the operation
encountered resistance in the form of gunfire, resulting in the death of one Palestinian and
injuries to five others."

Here's The Chicago Tribune's version:

Dozens injured in clashes with Israeli
2 Palestinian teens killed in W. Bank
By Christine Spolar
Tribune foreign correspondent

December 3, 2002

JENIN, West Bank -- When Israeli armored jeeps pulled into the market square Monday,
witnesses said, Mutaz Odeh, a husky boy carrying a sack of nuts and seeds for his
diabetic dad, moved too slowly to avoid the barrage of bullets that followed.

One sliced through the 15-year-old's back, and Mutaz died before reaching the hospital.

His death was one of two Monday in the West Bank--not remarkable in the two years of
unrest between Palestinians and Israelis, but it marked a day of extraordinary calamity for
Palestinian civilians.

In Jenin, 23 people were injured by the bullets and shrapnel, according to doctors there. In
nearby Tulkarem, a 19-year-old was killed and 14 people injured by shrapnel and bullets
fired Monday afternoon by soldiers chasing a suspected militant across a downtown area,
witnesses and doctors said.

In both cases, an army spokesman said Monday night, Israeli forces opened fire on
Palestinians who were breaking curfew in the center of their cities and, in Jenin, one
Israeli soldier was slightly wounded.

The Palestinian Red Crescent, which tracks deaths and injuries from Israeli gunfire each
month, claims that, on average in the last six months, about 92 people are injured per
month by live ammunition. The West Bank injury toll Monday is more than one-third of
the average monthly total.

In Jenin, Israelis and Palestinians offered widely divergent accounts of what happened.

Israelis said the Palestinians were armed--and news clips showed men throwing
stones--and the teen had climbed onto a tank as if to attack. Palestinians who saw the
shooting said soldiers had moved into the market as people left their homes to shop for
food in anticipation of Eid al-Fitr, the first day after Ramadan, and Mutaz was trying to
flee when he was hit by Israeli gunfire.

In Tulkarem, witnesses said, Israeli forces drove into a crowded market in search of a
suspect. Gunfire followed. Among the injured were four teenage boys, a 10-year-old boy
and a 39-year-old woman.

In an unrelated incident in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian was killed Monday when a mortar
bomb, lobbed by Palestinian militants, hit an industrial area near the border crossing into
Gaza. Twelve Palestinian workers were injured in that attack by militants, who apparently
intended to hit Israelis at the checkpoint.

Earlier in Gaza, soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian disguised in an Israeli army uniform
in an apparent effort to sneak into a Jewish settlement, the army said.

The West Bank shootings were notable because people were shot and wounded in
relatively large numbers. High injury tolls in the West Bank or Gaza usually occur when
the Israelis use more robust security or retaliation measures, such as missile strikes.

"It's one of the worst days of injuries and shooting that I can remember," said Mahmoud
Abu Ghadi, director of the General Hospital in Jenin. "We haven't had these numbers in
Jenin for a while."

Crowds preparing for holiday

Ahmed Abu Bakr, director of Thabet Hospital in Tulkarem, said people were caught
shopping for the feast at end of Ramadan, likely to be Thursday or Friday depending on
the lunar schedule.

"People were out in the street too much, and the soldiers came in and started shooting,"
Abu Bakr said. "The youths came back at them--but using stones, nothing more."

An Israeli army spokesman said Monday night that, in both cases, Israeli troops in
armored vehicles faced crowds of Palestinians when they opened fire. In Tulkarem, the
spokesman said, "There were a few Palestinians who had Molotov cocktails, and the
Israelis returned fire."

The army said the Tulkarem shooting began during a search for a suspected member of
the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant group linked to Palestinian leader Yasser
Arafat's Fatah movement. He was arrested later, a spokesman said.

In Jenin, the army spokesman said, a large group of Palestinians approached troops and
the teen was shot to death as he tried to scale a tank that was moving through town.
"What intent he had, only he knows," the spokesman said.

Kin: Boy couldn't climb tank

Mutaz Odeh's father, weeping a couple hours after he buried his younger son, said he saw
no one in the square trying to do anything but earn a few shekels in anticipation of Eid.
Mohammed and Mutaz Odeh routinely tried to peddle nuts, sunflower seeds and
cigarettes from a stand in the middle of town, family members said.

Mutaz never would have climbed a tank, his father and other relatives said Monday.

"He was a fat boy. How could he climb a tank?" one cousin said. Hospital personnel
estimated Monday night that Mutaz weighed about 220 pounds.

Mohammed Odeh, 52, is a diabetic with high blood pressure. His wife also suffers from
diabetes, and part of her foot has been amputated. Mutaz, one of two sons, quit school to
cook and care for his parents.

Jenin, a haven for Palestinian militants, has been under almost constant curfew since
spring, when terror attacks against Israel intensified. Members of the Odeh family said
that many times, they said, people just ignore curfews.

"We don't know if we are under curfew or we are not under curfew," said Muhannah
Odeh, 28, a cousin of the dead boy. "We try to live our lives until the tanks come."

Odeh died as Israeli soldiers, in two tanks and five jeeps, swept through the square and
began shooting, witnesses said. Odeh scrambled to help his father. He ran about 100
yards when he was felled by a single bullet, his father said.

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