(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)
21 February 2002
Following the wave of terrorist attacks of the previous days, an IDF force took control of a number of structures on Monday (18 February) in the Balata refugee camp (Nablus) which is under full Palestinian control. In order to protect the security of the soldiers, residents of the structures were given the option of leaving their buildings or moving, together with their belongings, to apartments located on the bottom floor of their buildings. The IDF has not forced anyone to remain inside the structures.
There is no truth to the claims that the soldiers used the Palestinians as "human shields" or placed them in windows as targets so as to identify the source of shots fired. Nor is there any truth to the claim that IDF soldiers are preventing sick Palestinians from being evacuated from the buildings. IDF forces are doing everything in their power to provide humanitarian assistance. Representatives of the UN visited the structures this morning (21 February) in order to check on the condition of the Palestinian residents. This visit was undertaken with the approval of the IDF.
It should be noted that the IDF has directed its soldiers to allow humanitarian assistance and to prevent harm to the population not involved in the terrorist attacks.
The IDF Spokesperson would like to emphasize that the false claims made against the soldiers are an addition component in the Palestinian Authority’s incitement.