The Palestine Red Crescent Society confirmed today that Israeli occupation forces have killed at least thirty Palestinian civilians in Jenin’s refugee camp today. Eyewitnesses inside the camp confirm that Israeli bulldozers have leveled the refugee camp’s front row homes while the families were still inside.
While the confirmed thirty victims were killed in one of the camp’s street, the total number of casualties in the camp is estimated to be at least 100. Many victims are buried under the rubble while scores others have been torn to pieces by the exploding tank shells; dozens others have bled to death inside their homes and in front of their traumatized family members…
Six Palestinians were confirmed killed in the camp during the early hours of the morning and identified. The rest of the victims remain unidentified while the number of injuries has been impossible to confirm, but is feared to be in the hundreds.
Since the early hours of the morning, Israeli Apache helicopters and tanks have been bombarding the densely populated refugee camp, where at least 150,00 people reside in an area that barely reaches 1 square kilometer. In fact, for the first time in its history of aggression, Israeli F-16 fighter jets have bombarded the Jenin refugee camp, in an offensive clearly meant to exact the maximum number of civilian casualties.
Official sources estimate that in the past two days, the Jenin refugee camp has been bombarded with more missiles and tank shells than all those Israeli occupation forces have used against Palestinian targets in the past year and a half.
Israeli occupation forces continue to adamantly refuse to allow any ambulance from reaching the refugee camp, even to collect the bodies. Two days ago, Israeli bulldozers destroyed a make-shift mass grave that the camp’s residents had made to bury their loved ones during the last Israeli invasion in February. The horrific scene resulting from the destruction was that of bodies removed from their graves and strewn across the street. Eyewitness accounts also confirm that Israeli tanks patrolling the street have crushed a number of bodies that medical crews have been unable to collect.
In a telephone interview with Al-Jazeera television, Umm Jihad, a camp resident, described the desperate situation; “The shelling has not stopped. We are all cornered in our homes, unable to sleep, move, or help those who are pleading for help as they bleed in the camp’s streets. The Israeli bulldozers are leveling homes over their residents’ heads and without a prior warning. When we called health officials to ask for help, we were informed that the occupation soldiers confiscated the ambulances’ keys in order to debilitate them. Our situation is one of indescribable suffering and desperation for no one is intervening to save our children, who are dying in front of our own helpless eyes”.
In an unprecedented breach of human rights, Israeli occupation soldiers announced in the afternoon that they would cease their fire in order to allow the women and elderly to get water only to arrest them and use them as human shields later on. Since the residents have had no water for days, a number of women and elderly men came out of their homes. However, as they reached the camp’s entrance, where Israeli tanks and personnel carriers are, they were all detained. Shortly after that, residents reported hearing the Israeli forces calling out on the microphone to the resistance fighters and security officers to surrender in order to save the lives of the detained civilians. The detainees were seen strapped to the tanks and personnel carriers, which resumed their bombardment campaign shortly after that call for surrender…. Strikingly, the Israeli officer previously heading the Jenin reoccupation offensive was reprimanded and removed from his duty after having failed to take over the camp in the past four days. Currently, Shaul Mofaz, Israel’s Chief of Staff, heads the brutal operation personally. Palestinian officials have thus held him directly responsible for the atrocities taking place in the Jenin refugee camp.
Jenin’s three humble hospitals have confirmed that since today, they have run out of fuel, needed to keep the electricity generators running after Israeli occupation forces plunged the city into total darkness four days ago. The hospitals have also run out of water.
As always, times of war and unbounded devastation bring about the most extraordinary acts of courage and ingenuity. Reports from Jenin’s Al-Razi Hospital confirm that a doctor was successful in conducting life saving brain surgery to Burhan Samir Burhan, who was critically injured in the head. Surprisingly, the doctor, who was not specialized in such complicated surgeries, concluded the operation successfully through the help of a specialized doctor in Ramallah’s Public Hospital, who was on the phone with him throughout the operation!
Since yesterday, the Palestinian leadership has warned repeatedly, through numerous appeals, of a possible second Sabra and Shatila massacre, only this time it would be in Jenin. “The Palestinian leadership urgently appeals to the international community and the Arab leaders to immediately intervene and help save the residents of the Jenin refugee camp for they have been the victims of a brutal war campaign, lead personally by Israel’s Chief of Staff, Shaul Mofaz”, read a leadership statement. It added, “We hold the international community responsible for delaying any intervention that could spare the refugee camp’s residents from a sure massacre”.
So far, no international party has intervened to stop the ongoing massacre.
Copyright © Palestine Media Center 2002. Reprinted for fair use only.
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