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Ya´alon puts hold on IDF operations in Gaza Strip (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Amos Harel and Yair Ettinger 01/30/05)Source: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/533478.html HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Chief of Staff Moshe Ya´alon issued new directives to the Israel Defense Forces on Friday regarding offensive activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, to enable the Palestinian Authority´s security forces to deploy to combat terrorism.

Ya´alon imposed a freeze on all offensive operations in the Gaza Strip, where Palestinians have resumed responsibility for security in areas under their control. In the West Bank, arrest operations against active terror cells will require Ya´alon´s personal approval.

The IDF is also preparing to reopen the Gaza Strip border crossings - Erez, Karni and Rafah - if the Palestinians commit to certain security measures to prevent further attacks there.

On Friday, the IDF opened the Karni crossing for several hours to allow perishable fruit and vegetables through for sale in Israel. Ya´alon said the IDF would further alleviate mobility for Palestinians in the West Bank if the security situation improves.

Only one arrest operation took place in the West Bank over the weekend. In the Ein Beit-Ilma refugee camp in Nablus, IDF troops arrested two wanted Fatah men suspected of planning to carry out a terror attack soon.

There were a few shooting incidents, all in the Gaza Strip: gunshots at an IDF outpost in Gush Katif; an anti-tank rocket fired at IDF troops; a mortar shell fired at another outpost; and a Qassam rocket launched from Beit Hanun that landed in a kibbutz in the western Negev. There were no casualties in these incidents.

The body of a Palestinian man, 35, was found yesterday 300 meters west of the Gaza Strip perimeter fence, east of Khan Yunis. The mentally impaired man had been missing for two days and may have been shot by soldiers because he had come too close to the fence. The IDF is looking into this possibility, but says it knows of no shooting incident in the area. Last week, two other mentally impaired Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip under similar circumstances. Two similar incidents also occured in the West Bank.

PA security forces finished deploying in the southern part of the Gaza Strip on Friday. More than 1,000 policemen were stationed in Khan Yunis, Dir al-Balah, the refugee camps in the region, and in Rafah (with the exception of the Philadelphi route, which remains an Israeli responsibility).

Meanwhile, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met yesterday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. PA Foreign Minister Nabil Sha´ath, who participated in the meeting, said afterward that Egypt had offered to assist in talks with the Palestinian military organizations but was told it would not be necessary since the cease-fire agreements were nearly complete. However, Egypt´s former ambassador to Israel, parliament member Mohammed Basiuni, said in Cairo that Egyptian envoys would travel to the PA next week to talk to the various factions and promote the cease-fire. (© Copyright 2005 Haaretz. 01/30/05)

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