2 April 2002

Summary of IDF Operations Overnight (1-2 April) in the West Bank
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

Regular and reserve IDF forces carried out operations this past evening in the areas of Tulkarem, Bethlehem, Qalqilya and Ramallah.

1. Tulkarem

The forces operated in the town of Tulkarem and in adjacent refugee camps of Nur A-Shams and Tulkarem.

During these operations, the forces took up dominant positions in the town and the surrounding areas. The forces are deployed in the central area of the town and are moving against the local terrorist infrastructure, locating terrorists and wanted Palestinian suspects active in the area, carrying out searches for weapons and munitions, effectively depriving the terrorists of the ability to exploit the refugee camps as hideouts.

It should be noted that the town of Tulkarem serves as a focal point for terrorist activity and has been used as a point of departure for a great number of terrorist attacks targeting against Israeli citizens. The last terrorist attack to depart Tulkarem occurred last Wednesday, 27 March, when a suicide bomber exploded himself inside a hotel in Netanya, killing 22 civilians and wounding 170.

During the night, IDF soldiers were fired upon and fire was returned. There were no casualties among IDF forces.

2. Bethlehem

IDF regular and reserve forces also assumed dominant positions in the town of Bethlehem, arrested wanted Palestinian terrorists and searched houses for weapons. These actions were aimed at destroying the local terrorist infrastructure and disrupting hostile terrorist activity.

3. In the towns of Qalqilya and Ramallah, IDF forces continued their operations.

4. The towns in which IDF forces are operating are central points of terrorism and have often served as a point of departure for many terrorists.

5. Bitunya

IDF forces are also operating in the area of the Palestinian Counter Intelligence Agency building in Bitunya. The forces are surrounding the building. During the last three days, IDF forces have avoided entering the building despite clear evidence that wanted terrorists are hiding inside.

The wanted terrorists hiding in the Counter Intelligence Agency building in Bitunya were called upon to surrender. After they refused and following many warnings and warning shots, IDF forces issued an ultimatum, demanding from those inside to turn over the terrorist elements inside to the IDF.

In the building are a large number of armed terrorists who are responsible for a number of the recent attacks which took the lives of 48 civilians and over 250 wounded, among whom were many children.

6. The IDF Spokesperson categorically denies all false Palestinian claims that IDF soldier used Palestinian civilians as a human shield in the course of these operations.

As of the early morning hours IDF forces are operating in the area of the villages of Tamon, Tubas, Taysir and Far’ah in order to take over sites used by terrorists and capture wanted Palestinian suspects.