An officer was killed during a search for wanted terrorists in the Casbah area of Nablus yesterday, apparently after being hit by friendly fire. He was identified as Major Asaf Asoulin, 30, from Tel Aviv. A career paratroop officer, he had been on study leave when he was called back to field duty.
According to an initial IDF investigation, Asoulin was commanding a unit of soldiers that was breaking in the wall of a building to create a passageway for the search team. Another paratroop unit in the vicinity, which was not aware of Asoulin's operation, noticed the broken wall and saw objects flying (probably rocks being cleared), and assumed it was Palestinian fighters. They opened fire, wounding Asoulin in the chest and neck. He died on the way to hospital.
In a separate incident in the Nablus area yesterday evening, five soldiers were lightly wounded when an armored personnel carrier drove over a roadside bomb.
Palestinians said the bodies of four people killed during Israeli operations during the week have been recovered, but there were an unspecified number of other dead who have not been evacuated.
In shelling on the Ascar refugee camp near the city on Monday night, an 11 year old boy, identified as Amjid Abda, and a 60 year-old man, Hafaz Sabra, were killed. Hospitals in the city were reported to be filled beyond capacity with wounded.
In Dura, south of Hebron, a second officer was shot in the head and seriously wounded after the IDF thrust into the village. At least five Palestinians were killed in Dura. Eyewitnesses reported tanks and armored vehicles moving in to the village under the cover of aircraft hovering in the sky. A building used by Force 17 and several other Palestinian security buildings were destroyed.
Palestinian sources said that at least two of those who died were initially only wounded but ambulances were not allowed to evacuate them and they bled to death. The two were identified as Na'if Ahmed, 35, and Araf Ahmed, 32.
Also killed by Israeli fire was Abed el Kadar Dudeen, 25, whom Palestinian said was walking past the municipality building when he was shot, Shahin Mahmoud and Omran Flifel. Eye-witnesses reported that Flifel, a cab driver, was killed while he was driving.
Another Palestinian, identified Shaheen Suheel, 25, from the village of Ajul, near Ramallah died late Monday night of wounds sustained during an IDF thrust there during the day.
Two Palestinians were reported to have died in Ramallah from wounds sustained earlier in the week, bringing to 27 the number of known dead in the city since the incursion began on March 29.
In Rafiah, in the Gaza Strip, Israeli troops uncovered a tunnel near the Egyptian border crossing which was used was used to smuggle arms in from Egypt. Palestinian sources said Israeli troops went into parts of Area A near the town of Beit Hanoun. Near the fence into the strip, near Kibbut Kerem-Shalom, Israeli forces spotted a Palestinian trying to enter Israeli areas. He was shot and killed.