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 Monday, 6 January, 2003, 17:32 GMT
Israel's military crackdown
Israeli APC
The Israeli army has used a variety of tactics
The double Palestinian suicide bombing in Tel Aviv has shattered more than a month of relative calm inside Israel.

But that period has seen an upsurge of military operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Around 50 Palestinians - including a number of civilians - have been killed and there have been numerous house demolitions, incursions and arrests. The army has encircled Palestinian towns and refugee camps, imposing tight curfews.

Militants had vowed to take revenge for the army raids and said there would be no ceasefire if incursions and assassinations of Palestinian militants continued.

During the past six weeks, there has been an increase in:

  • Arrests

    According to Israeli officials, the last two months of 2002 saw more than 1,200 Palestinians detained, in one of the largest sweeps in memory.

    Figures released by the Israel-based human rights group B'Tselem in the first week of January, say more than 1,000 Palestinians were still being held without charge.

  • Deaths

    About 45 Palestinians were killed in December, as opposed to at least eight Israelis. Many of those killed were Palestinian fighters who battled Israeli troops during regular incursions into Palestinian towns and refugee camps.

    But Palestinian officials say unarmed civilian bystanders have been shot dead by Israeli soldiers.

    An 11-year-old boy was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier during a stone-throwing clash in Tulkarm on 29 December. He was the second child shot dead in as many days.

  • Incursions

    Israeli troops with tanks have regularly raided Palestinian towns and refugee camps, triggering fierce fighting with gunmen. In some instances, they have been backed by helicopter gunships.

    Palestinians say civilians have been killed by the gunship missiles. Israel maintains the dead were all armed fighters killed during pinpoint raids to destroy the houses of militants.

  • 'Assassinations'

    The military crackdown has seen an increase in the number of what Israel calls "targeted killings" of Palestinian militants.

    Soldiers and undercover commandos have swooped on the homes of suspected militants and shot some of them dead.

    In one 24-hour period at the end of December, nine Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops in such attacks.

  • Curfew

    Most major Palestinian towns have been under curfew on and off for many months. But, in the last six weeks of the 2002 those curfews were tightened in many areas.

    Bethlehem was under heavy curfew for almost a month before Israeli troops pulled back to the outskirts of the town to allow Christmas observances. Troops moved back in on 26 December.

    Since the middle of November, Hebron has been under an almost continuous curfew, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. Curfews imposed on Qalqilya and Tulkarm have lasted for almost 24 hours at a time.

  • Demolitions

    Human rights group B'Tselem says 34 Palestinian houses were demolished as punishment in November and a further 19 in December.

    There has been a chorus of international criticism - human rights groups describe the tactic as "collective punishment".


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