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IDF foils infiltration attempts (JERUSALEM POST) By DAVID RUDGE 07/10/03) Source: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1057813453269
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Security forces on Thursday night thwarted two separate infiltration attempts into Israel from the Gaza Strip.
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Three men infiltrated an area between Kibbutz Mefalsim and Kibbutz Kfar Aza near the northern Gaza Strip before being spotted by troops. The soldiers chased them and fired at them, wounding one and capturing the other two.
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A man who had managed to infiltrate the area near Kerem Shalom near the southern Gaza Strip was lightly wounded by small arms fire. In both cases the men were unarmed.
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Also, Palestinians fired at soldiers and workers of the Gaza Coast Regional Council near Rafiah Yam in the southern Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported.
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Even as alerts for terrorist attacks remained relatively low, soldiers on Thursday uncovered several bombs in Palestinian Authority territory. Soldiers discovered a large roadside bomb near Rafah along the Egyptian border, while soldiers operating south of Nablus uncovered seven pipe bombs. All the bombs were safely detonated by sappers in controlled explosions.
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Separately, troops at the Rafah crossing point in the Gaza Strip arrested a Palestinian wanted for questioning on Thursday morning. Also, soldiers came under fire near the Askar refugee camp in the Nablus area. There were no reports of any casualties or damage.
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Senior security sources said there are 23 specific warnings about planned suicide bombings and other operations, both inside Israel and in the territories. The figure is a marked decrease from the more than 50 warnings that security sources were receiving daily prior to the cease-fire declaration of nearly two weeks ago.
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The defense establishment is split over the cease-fire accord and how the Palestinians will utilize it, but a report on Israel Radio on Thursday quoted security sources as saying that even the skeptics believe the Palestinians are sincere in their efforts to reach an agreement with Israel.
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The sources were quoted as saying that senior officials of the Palestinian Authority, as well as residents, are doing their best to prevent terrorist attacks, and that they are doing so because they believe the attacks only serve to worsen the plight of Palestinians.
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The sources noted that residents of the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip recently confronted members of a terror squad who refused their demands not to carry out an attack.
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According to the report, the groups scuffled, and a senior PA security official who went to the scene instructed the residents to "break the bones" of the militants. He later explained that it is time to bring about calm and prevent any further harm to the already difficult economic situation of PA residents.
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Outgoing OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Doron Almog told reporters on Thursday that all the Palestinian groups share a strong desire to adhere to the temporary cease-fire.
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He maintained that in the case of Hamas, the cease-fire is meant to strengthen its ranks, while the PA wishes to benefit from promises by the US and Israel to create the environment necessary to advance the peace process.
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"As a result of these interests, we have witnessed a significant drop in the number of warnings and (actual) terror attacks, which is certainly not the same as at the time the (cease-fire) was accepted," Almog said.
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"Obviously, the more difficult part will be afterward, with the disarming of Hamas not only of weapons but, I would say, an ideological dismantling," he said.
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In the meantime, security sources said Israel is easing restrictions on civilians in the Nablus area by allowing supply trucks to offload directly, back-to-back, onto other trucks. (© 1995-2003, The Jerusalem Post 07/10/03)
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