FM Peres on the Fighting in Jenin

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
April 14, 2002

Today (14 April), following the memorial ceremony for fallen Foreign Service personnel, which took place at the Foreign Ministry, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres stated that many buildings were demolished in Jenin because the terrorists had wired them with explosives. "There wasn’t a house that wasn’t booby-trapped" Peres said, "and there was no way to neutralize the danger without demolishing the structure."

"We also encountered booby-trapped men, Palestinians who raised their hands to surrender while wearing explosive vests, in an attempt to detonate themselves among our soldiers."

"It was very bitter combat. We lost 23 soldiers, which indicates that this was a difficult operation, in which the Palestinians did their maximum to inflict as many casualties as they could."

"The Israel Defense forces received clear instructions to avoid harming civilians, and that is exactly what they did," Peres stated.