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Monday, January 12, 2004

News from the IDF

The Northern Border:
IDF forces uncovered two additional explosive devices near the Israeli community of Zarit - the same location in which two strings of explosives detonated on 10/12/04.

Judea and Samaria:
During the past week, Israeli security forces arrested over 135 wanted Palestinians. In addition, terrorists fired nine separate times at IDF forces, and detonated five explosive devices against IDF forces operating in the area.

IDF forces identified a roadside bomb in the city of Tulkarem. The bomb was detonated in a controlled explosion by IDF sappers.

- IDF forces identified two terrorists armed with pistols approaching them in the Nablus Casbah. After determining their hostile intent, IDF forces fired and hit the terrorists.

- Terrorists hurled an explosive device at IDF forces operating in the Nablus Casbah. IDF forces returned fire.

- Terrorists fired at IDF forces during operational activity in the Tulkarem refugee camp. IDF forces returned fire, killing a Hamas operative armed with an assault rifle.

- IDF forces identified a terrorist in Rafadia, Nablus, who drew a revolver. IDF forces fired and killed the terrorist.

- IDF forces operating in Jenin arrested Muntasar Abu Alion. Alion, age 28, is a senior operative of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin, and served under the command of Zacharia Zabidi, commander of Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade in Jenin region.

Muntasar was responsible for planning and carrying out dozens of terrorist attacks in the Jenin region under the auspices of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. In addition, Muntasar was responsible for a number of shooting attacks during June 2003, which killed three people.

At the time of his arrest, Muntasar was in the process of planning a terrorist attack against Israeli targets.

IDF forces also arrested Dib Horani, a Tanzim operative who worked for Al Manar, the official television station of the Hizballah.

Dib Horani was dressed as a woman at the time of his arrest.

Gaza Strip
During the past week, terrorists fired a Qassam rocket towards the Israeli city of Sderot. In addition, terrorists fired 8 mortars, five anti-tanks missiles, and shot over 20 times at Israeli communities and IDF positions in the Gaza Strip.

IDF forces prevented a terrorist attack against an IDF position near the Israeli community of Ganei Tal.

IDF forces opened fire after identifying a number of terrorists approaching an IDF position in a restricted area. During searches of the area carried out after the incident, IDF forces seized a 70 kilogram explosive device - which was detonated in a controlled explosion by IDF sappers.

IDF forces uncovered two tunnels along the Israel-Egypt border near the "Kerem Shalom" crossing.

The first tunnel was dug to a depth of 9 meters, and was discovered under a road used by IDF vehicles. Apparently, the tunnel was meant to contain explosive devices which were to be detonated against IDF vehicles.

The second tunnel, discovered in an abandoned building, was dug to a depth of 6 meters, and was intended to be used for weapon smuggling.

The tunnels were destroyed in a controlled explosion by IDF sappers.

It should be noted that since 2003, IDF forces have uncovered over 40 weapon smuggling tunnels.

Easing of Restrictions:
As part of ongoing efforts to improve the lives of the Palestinian population in Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley and Gaza Strip, and in accordance with an assessment of the situation, IDF forces carried out the following steps:

Gaza Strip
- Permission was granted to 15,000 Palestinian workers to work in Israel.

- Permission was granted for 4,000 Palestinian merchants to enter Israel.

Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley
- 3,000 workers agricultural workers were permitted to enter Israel and to work in agriculture.

- 7,000 merchants from Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley were permitted to enter Israel.