Two weeks ago the Israeli Army and news sources claimed
the invasion of Nablus ended. Daily operations
continue, showing that the army has not, and does
not plan to leave. Last week soldiers surrounded
the house of curtain-maker, Abdul al-Qassa. They
arrested al-Aqsa activist Ibrahim Attari who was
sleeping in the house. After taking both Attari and
al-Qassa out of the house, soldiers demanded that
al-Qassa tell them who Attari was and why he was
sleeping in his house.
He replied that he did not know. Soldiers responded
by shooting him in the knees, stomach, and mouth. He
died bleeding in front of his house. They then took
Attari to another location and assassinated him.
On Thursday, January 22 a large battalion of jeeps,
hummers, tanks and bulldozers drove into Nablus
between 3:00-4:00 a.m. From 4:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
the people of Nablus were again under seige.
The center of the operation was focused around
Obuaydeh Street, near the university. The people
living in more than 100 houses were imprisoned
inside their homes, without access to food, medical
care or allowed to go to work or school the entire
day. In addition, tanks, jeeps and APCs
patrolling the city center prevented people from
moving through the city. No curfew was announced in
Nablus, but the heavy soldier presence and continual
shooting imposed a de-facto curfew.
In the morning we received information that children
were trapped in 3 schools near the Obuaydeh area.
Heavy indiscriminate Israeli military shooting
surrounded the schools. With medical volunteers, we
helped escort hundreds of terrified girls from their
schools. Soldiers attempted to stop us, first by
forbidding us to enter the area by the school; then,
as we were escorting girls out they began shooting
into the area.
On Obuaydeh Street over 20 people had been trapped
inside a mosque since 4:00 a.m. These people were
attending early morning prayers when the army
invaded. Medical volunteers received word that
one of the people inside the mosque needed medical
care, so we attempted to reach the mosque. We
were immediately stopped by soldiers who insisted
that there were no people in any of the buildings on
the street, including the mosque. Seeing women and men
beckoning me from the windows of the mosque, we
attempted to walk past the soldiers. We were blocked
by an APC and an M-16.
As of 1:00 p.m., seven children had been shot in
various areas around Nablus, three of them next to
their school. At least three of those shot
were hit with live ammunition, one 10-year old
boy sustained a critical wound to his stomach. I don't
know exactly how many were injured the rest
of the day - but many were taken away in ambulances.
The soldiers were searching the area for a resistance
fighter that they believed was in one building. They
arrested his brother early in the morning. Soldiers
abducted the elderly mother of the man and forced her
to stand outside of the house and call for him on
a megaphone. Not wanting her son to be killed, she
told her son that if he was in the house, he should
stay in the house and have god watch over him.
The operation ended with a large explosion heard
as far as 15 miles away. We were a road down from the
home being demolished and were hit with pieces of
glass and rubble - we saw a door frame and scraps of
metal flying past. The person they were looking for
was not in the house they were searching. Immediately
after the soldiers pulled out, the man they were
looking for emerged from a building across
the street, shaken and ash-white from all of the dust
from the explosion. Some people immediately encircled
him and took him away from the scene.
Three buildings were demolished, many more were
damaged. Over one hundred people were left homeless.
Women and men began pouring out into the streets
- screaming and crying, asking, "where is god? where
is the world? where is the hope?" Many women fainted
and had to be taken to the hospital. The families in
the homes were not allowed to remove any of their
belongings before the explosion - all of the money,
clothes, family picture, etc. were destroyed
in the explosion. Cars were upturned, doors
lifted off the frames, and windows in the houses
within a mile radius were destroyed. The windows in
the mosque where people were being imprisoned
were all broken, scattering shards of glass upon the
On the way back to the old city I met an old woman
hunched over, being carried by two men on either side
of her. She is the owner of the home that was
completely demolished. She and her husband built the
house forty years ago, serving as a home for their
sons and their sons families since then. All of her
life's belongings, her memories were inside the house.
I had no words adequate enough to comfort her.
This operation took over 12 hours - imprisoning
hundreds of people in their homes, injuring many
innocent children and leaving over 100 families
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