2 April 2002

IDF operations in Betuniya, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Bet Jala, Tulkarm and Qalqilya
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

Bituniya

As of this morning (2 April) infantry, armored and engineering forces have surrounded the headquarters of the Palestinian Preventive Security Forces in Bituniya, and a demand was made to hand over wanted suspects to the IDF. During the afternoon over 180 Palestinians, both men and women, turned themselves over to IDF forces. Some of the men were wearing Palestinian Police uniforms.

The detainees were taken for questioning by Israeli security forces.

Among the detainees are a number of wanted suspects who had found refuge in the Preventive Security Forces building, including individuals who had planned and initiated some of the murderous attacks carried out in Israel.

The IDF will not allow those responsible for the attacks on Israelis to find asylum.

Ramallah

IDF regular and reserve forces have been operating throughout the city of Ramallah since March 29 in an effort to destroy the terrorist infrastructure that exists in the city. IDF searches have uncovered large quantities of arms, including:

  • 85 RPG rocket powered anti tank grenades
  • 1 60 mm mortar
  • 2 60mm mortar shells
  • 1 MAG medium machine gun
  • 4 PK machineguns
  • 370 Kalashnikov assault rifles
  • 1 Kalashnikov carbine
  • 13 Kalashnikov sub-machine guns
  • 19 sniper rifles
  • 1 Barret sniper rifle
  • 22 miscellaneous rifles
  • 90 miscellaneous handguns
  • 6 explosives devices
  • 7 fragmentation grenades
  • 1 smoke grenade
  • 2 gas grenades
  • 128 commando knives
  • 60 bayonets for Kalashnikov rifles
  • 18 flak jackets
  • 45 miscellaneous telescopic sights
  • 8 night vision devices
  • 3 air guns
  • 5 web gear
  • 1 assault grenade
  • 99 Kalashnikov magazines
  • 33 handgun magazines
  • 35 M-16 magazines
  • 25 7.62 magazines
  • 5 9mm magazines
  • 40 miscellaneous magazines

The IDF lifted the curfew imposed on Ramallah for a few hours in order to allow the civilian Palestinian population to obtain food and other necessities.

In addition the IDF supplied food, drink and medical supplies to the Chairman of the PA.

Bethlehem and Bet Jala

Today IDF reserve forces operated in Bethlehem and Bet Jala. Three IDF soldiers were lightly to moderately wounded – one as the result of acid which was thrown from a window in one of the homes, and the other two from Palestinian fire.

Searches in the residence of the PA Chairman turned up numerous arms.

Anti-tank rockets were fired at IDF forces by terrorists hiding in the Lutheran church in Bethlehem. Also, many explosive devices were detonated and exchanges of fire took place in a number of sectors within Bethlehem.

Until now, 26 armed Palestinians in the area have surrendered following gun battles. Four armed terrorists were killed and three were wounded.

Tulkarem and Qalqilya

During the day, IDF reserves forces strengthened their hold on the city of Tulkarem and the surrounding villages. Elite units from IDF junior command courses continue their operations in the city. Searches carried out thus far in Tulkarem and Qalqilya have resulted in the arrests of a number of Fatah members, and arms found in homes and within the cities have been seized.

Over ten improvised rifles, in addition to improvised and factory made handguns, a number of Kalashnikov rifles, documents, clubs and many knives, as well as forged and/or stolen Israeli license plates were found during citywide searches.

In addition, IDF forces continued to operate in the villages of Tamun, Tubas, Taysir and Fara’ah.