Holy Land: siege of Nablus ends

 The siege of Nablus has ended. The campaign resulted in 18 Palestinian deaths and over 250 injured. At a press conference yesterday Mahmoud Aloul, the governor of Nablus with medical workers said they felt the attacks had been timed to coincide with Christian holidays and other world events which focussed the world's media elsewhere. Addressing Israeli justifications for the invasions Aloul described Israeli claims a "campaign of misinformation". He said Israel's attempts to connect these operations to the December 24th suicide bombing in Tel Aviv were completely inaccurate, as the invasions of Nablus had begun a full week before the Tel Aviv bombing. The governor went on to describe the events of the last few weeks, the killings of innocent civilians during the 12 days the town was held under virtually uninterrupted curfew, the demolition of houses in the Balata Refugee Camp, in Beit Foreek and in the old town. He emphasized the disproportionate force used against a civilian population and expressed outrage at the damage done to the historic sites of the city, the aqueducts and tunnels dating back to Roman times. Dr Sameer Abu Zarour, forensic doctor of Nablus Raffidiya hospital then presented various x-ray pictures portraying the aggressive methods with which Israeli soldiers have been attacking Palestinian civilians. One example showed an x-ray picture of the head of Muhammad al-Masri. He had been killed during the funeral of his cousin. Like the majority of those killed in this latest Israeli incursion, Muhammad had been killed by one bullet to the head from a sniper above him - "to whom at no time could he have possibly been conceived as presenting any danger". Governor Aloul said: "The Israeli forces withdrew from Nablus empty handed. This incursion had led to the discovery of nothing that could possibly support their pretext for invading."

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