A large number of IDF forces entered the West Bank city of Ramalla and surrounded its main Mosque. Jeeps and other military vehicles entered the city at approximately 6:30 PM and surrounded the large Jamal Abd Al Nasser Mosque in Ramallah’s Al Manar Square in the city center. The West Bank city has been put under curfew.
Apart from many Palestinian worshippers inside the large Mosque, which is known to be affiliated with Hamas, the IDF says wanted fugitives are also inside the Mosque, Israel Radio reported.
Live Aljazeera footage showed troops taking up positions in the centre of Ram Allah. Gunfire could be heard.
An IDF spokesman confirmed an operation was
under way in the area of Ramallah. The IDF said the aim of the operation is to search suspects and arrest fugitives, if there are any inside the Mosque.
When the operation is complete the troops will pull out, the military said, adding that the army has no intention of operating against Yasser Arafat in his nearby Muqata compound.
The Mosque is nearby to the offices of the Arab Aljazeera satellite TV network, which is broadcasting the IDF operation live to millions of subscribers in the Arab world.
Aljazeera’s website claims that IDF troops are currently raiding the news organization’s Ramallah office.
Aljazeera reports that some of the Israeli troops entered the Aljazeera office in Ramallah and asked the staff to close the doors and remain indoors. Journalists there were also told not to step out.
Troops and armed Palestinians are engaged in clashes in the West Bank city.