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Rafah crossing reopens (JERUSALEM POST) By MARGOT DUDKEVITCH 02/02/05)Source: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1107141483333 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Five mortar shells were fired at settlements in Gush Katif and northern Gaza on Tuesday, bringing the total number of mortars fired in the past 24 hours to thirteen.

Two Israeli civilians were treated for shock and taken to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba. Several cars in one of the communities were damaged.

Hamas claimed responsibility for Monday´s barrage of mortar shell attacks, saying it was in response to the death of Nuran Dib, 10, a Palestinian girl they claimed was killed by IDF tank fire, as she played in the yard of a UN-run school in Rafah. A second girl, who was nearby, was injured in the hand.

Palestinian and UN officials said that at the time of the girl´s death, shots were fired from the direction of the Israeli army position.

The school, ringed by a man-high wall, is located about 700 meters east of an Israeli military patrol road and about 650 meters east of an Israeli watchtower.

Ali Moussa, director of the Rafah Hospital, said the fatal bullet entered near the girl´s nose and exited through the back of the head.

Moussa said the entry and exit wounds make it very unlikely she was hit by a bullet that was fired in the air – as it typically would be during celebrations – and then fell back down.

Moussa said the girl was hit by rifle fire or a ricochet. He said an initial Palestinian report that she was killed by fire from a tank- mounted machine gun was wrong.

The army denied responsibility for the shooting after the girl´s death generated headlines worldwide.

Nuran´s father, Iyad, said she was the oldest of his five children. Holding a snapshot of his daughter, Dib said she loved to read and watch cartoons. "When you are talking about her, you are talking about my first baby, my first happy feeling," he said. "I have no words, just to pray that her soul will be resting in paradise."

On Tuesday night, Israeli media reported that Palestinian security forces had arrested a man from Rafah they suspect was involved in the shooting and that he was undergoing questioning. The recent escalation in violence prompted Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to demand that PA security chief Muhammad Dahlan act immediately.

During a meeting between the two on Monday night, Mofaz warned that failure to stop the attacks will have an immediate impact on progress and will directly affect plans to ease up additional restrictions imposed on the Palestinians. Mofaz reiterated his warnings again on Tuesday.

Mofaz, however, agreed to Dahlan´s request to reopen all the Gaza border crossings, including Rafah, Erez as well as Karni in the coming days.

On Tuesday, the Rafah border crossing was reopened for business. Considered the main gateway between Egypt and Gaza, it was shut down after the December 12 bomb attack that blew up the joint verification team post, killing five soldiers.

Since then, it was only opened temporarily to facilitate the passage of hundreds of Palestinian worshipers traveling to the Hajj in Mecca.

Also during the day, IDF district commanders met with their Palestinian counterparts at the Karni crossing.

The terminal is expected to be opened shortly, once Palestinians have carried out all the necessary security arrangements. The crossing was closed after six Israelis were killed in a joint bomb and shooting attack by Palestinian terrorists several weeks ago.

On Thursday, Defense Ministry officials said the seven- member "special ministerial committee" is expected to discuss the gradual transfer of West Bank cities to Palestinian security control.

Meanwhile, at Mofaz´s request, the Palestinians were asked to draw up plans for each city and stipulate how they intend to take control and the number of security forces they will deploy.

In the West Bank on Tuesday, shots were fired at soldiers deployed in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus and in Kalil, south of Nablus; no one was wounded in the attacks. AP contributed to this report. (© 1995-2005, The Jerusalem Post 02/02/05)


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