Holy Land: many casualties in siege of ancient city

 The West Bank city of Nablus has now been under constant attack for 20 days, an NGO reported this morning. On Saturday, four Palestinians were killed and a fifth left brain-dead after being shot in the head with live ammunition. This brings the number of Palestinians killed in Nablus during this offensive to 14 and counting. Israeli soldiers have attacked peaceful demonstrations and a funeral. In a statement, the NGO said: "The old city in Nablus has repeatedly been subjected to a total curfew. Many families have been forced to leave their homes by occupying forces, while those that remain are frequently confined to their houses for days at a time by a military closure that is enforced with reckless violence and a casual disregard for human life. "With the local population trapped in their homes, Israeli troops have set about destroying significant sections of the city's architectural heart. In the last two days, soldiers have begun dynamiting sections of the old city claiming they were searching for Palestinian militants hiding in tunnels beneath these buildings. In the process they have systematically destroyed a number a buildings of great architectural and historical value, although not a single militant was found in the old city during the search. "These demolitions prompted locals to form a peaceful demonstration in protest. However, Israeli soldiers opened fire on the demonstrators, killing three men. There have been four recorded incidents of occupying troops preventing medical relief from reaching the wounded." Two days ago, ten Palestinians were also wounded in Nablus when Israeli soldiers fired on demonstrators who were throwing stones. An NGO spokesperson said: "Throughout this offensive, Nablus has also been subjected to an information blackout that has allowed Israeli troops to wreak violence across the city with impunity. All aspects of daily life are abused. It is imperative that the international community is alerted to the realities of the Israeli siege in the city, and to the gross violations of human rights taking place there on a daily basis." Source: Palestinian Monitor

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