Newsletter : 2fax0404.txt
| Previous file
| Next file
Passover Massacre Death Toll Climbs to 26
The death toll in the Passover massacre of March 27 has risen to
26. Three of the seriously wounded victims died on Tuesday and
another on Wednesday. More than 130 persons were wounded when a
suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in the dining room of
the Park Hotel in Netanya during the Passover seder meal. And in
the Haifa restaurant suicide bombing that took place March 31,
Carlos Yerushalmi, 52, died of his injuries in Haifa's Rambam
Medical Center Wednesday, bringing that death toll to 15.
Israel Adds Nablus to West Bank Assault
By VOA News
Israeli tanks have pushed into the Palestinian city of Nablus, the
largest in the West Bank, as Israel pressed its offensive against
Palestinian militants. Scores of tanks entered the city from two
directions Wednesday. Witnesses said Palestinian fighters poured
heavy machine gun fire on the advancing troops. But the tanks
blasted through makeshift barricades that the Palestinians had set
up in anticipation of the Israeli move.
Israeli forces re-occupied two other Palestinian towns, Jenin and
Salfit, earlier Wednesday. At least 11 Palestinians and one Israeli
soldier were killed in Wednesday's fighting throughout the West
In Bethlehem, Israeli forces continue to encircle scores of
Palestinian gunmen who took shelter in the Church of the Nativity.
The gunmen entered the church, one of Christianity's holiest
shrines, after long battles on Tuesday.
Between 200 and 400 people have taken refuge in the church,
according to various accounts, including armed men and civilians.
Both sides said they have ordered their men not to shoot. Israeli
officials accuse Palestinian fighters of exploiting churches and
holy sites for protection.
A number of U.S. and British nationals were evacuated from
Bethlehem by diplomats from their home countries. Israel
re-occupied Bethlehem Tuesday. Five Italian journalists and an
Armenian colleague were also evacuated Wednesday. One of the
Italian journalists, Marc Innaro, said the gunmen inside the church
do not intend to surrender.
Israeli forces have re-occupied seven West Bank towns since Friday
- Nablus is the eighth - despite mounting international calls for
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to pull out his troops. Israel said its
aim is to root out terrorists and prevent attacks against Israelis.
U.S. Urges Families of Diplomats to Leave Jerusalem
By VOA News
As the situation in the Middle East deteriorates, the United States
is urging families of U.S. diplomats in Jerusalem to leave Israel.
The State Department issued an updated travel warning for Israel
Tuesday. It said relatives of diplomats at the U.S. consulate in
Jerusalem should voluntarily go home and the State Department will
offer free flights to those who want to leave. The recommendation
does not apply to relatives of diplomats at the U.S. embassy in Tel
The new travel warning also urged all U.S. citizens living in
Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip to relocate to a safe location
and said Americans should put off any travel to Israel or the
Palestinian territories. The warning said ongoing violence has
caused numerous civilian deaths and injuries, including to some
American tourists - and the potential for more terrorism is high.
The University of California joined with other major American
colleges in recalling students from academic programs in Israel.
The university said it ordered its remaining 27 students to leave
the country. Twenty-eight students have already gone home. UC also
said it would put its Fall 2002 Israeli academic program on hold as
it re-evaluates the security situation.
Annan Urges Syria, Lebanon to Reduce Tensions with Israel
By VOA News
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has urged the presidents of
Lebanon and Syria to reduce tensions with Israel, following more
violence between Syrian-backed Hizbullah guerrillas and Israeli
soldiers. Annan's telephone calls to the two Arab leaders on
Wednesday came shortly after Israeli and Lebanese-based Hizbullah
forces exchanged fire for a second day along Israel's northern
Hizbullah fired mortars and anti-tank rockets at Israeli troops in
the disputed Shebaa Farms region, in the foothills of the
Israeli-annexed Golan Heights. Israel said one of its soldiers was
wounded in the attack. Israeli warplanes responded by raiding the
outskirts of a nearby Lebanese village. A second airstrike
followed, with four missiles reported striking near another
village. This followed retaliatory warplane attacks by Israel on
suspected Hizbullah positions in southern Lebanon on Tuesday.
In another development, Syria agreed to go ahead with a planned
redeployment of its 20,000 troops stationed in Lebanon to areas in
eastern Lebanon near the border with Syria. Diplomats in the region
said they believe the Syrian government is eager to avoid direct
confrontation with Israel following the renewed border tensions.
Syria's troop movement is also in line with a 1989 agreement ending
Lebanon's 15-year civil war. Lebanon's opposition Christians have
been pushing for the quick withdrawal of Syrian troops.These
developments follow warnings by Israeli officials that Hizbullah
guerillas may be trying to open a second front while many Israeli
troops are engaged in the conflict against Palestinians.
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)