- The sound of four explosions came down the phone line.
A woman could be heard screaming in the background: "Come and save
us." This was in the middle of an interview with a Red Crescent ambulance
official. He said the woman's house had been hit by rockets fired from
an Israeli helicopter.
- These were the voices that came out of Jenin refugee
camp yesterday when it came under the heaviest attack since the Israeli
army began its onslaught in the West Bank. The accounts are chilling: stories
of Israeli forces using the elderly as human shields in front of their
tanks, of women and children being rounded up, of homes being demolished,
of bodies littering the streets.
- These allegations cannot be confirmed, because of the
censorship imposed by the Israeli authorities, who have refused journalists
access to the camp. They are the claims made by those inside the refugee
camp, speaking by mobile phone, and those who have recently fled.
- Abu Hussein, a 55-year-old man inside the camp, said:
"They used women and old men as human shields. They were walking in
front of the tanks and a bulldozer was destroying the houses on both sides."
Apparently the houses were bulldozed to clear a path for tanks through
the narrow alleys - an old tactic of Ariel Sharon when he was commander
of the army in the Gaza Strip in the Seventies.
- Mr Hussein said he was sheltering in two rooms with 40
others. "The soldiers entered my neighbour's house," he said.
"They killed him. His body is there for more than five days. Six missiles
hit a three-floor building, just 200 metres away from my house. The house
was full of families. I do not know how many people were there."
- A senior source in the Israeli military was quoted in
the newspaper Ha'aretz yesterday as saying Israeli troops had killed almost
100 Palestinians in Jenin in the past few days.
- Helicopters flew over the camp all day yesterday, pounding
it with rockets. Abdullah Abu Atiya, who fled from Jenin, said: "They
demolished all the houses in Hawashin neighbourhood. There are many dead
people in the streets. There were many wounded crying in pain. Nobody can
help them. Nobody can get the dead bodies from destroyed houses."
- The Israeli authorities have been refusing to allow ambulances
access to the wounded, which is a war crime under the Geneva conventions.
The Red Cross said yesterday it was working to get the Israelis to allow
ambulances in. Eventually, three ambulances were permitted. Each was only
allowed to bring out one person.
- The Red Cross said five ambulances were fired on in the
area around Jenin and Nablus yesterday.
- "The missiles were falling on the camp like rain,"
said Ghassan Rabayaa, an ambulance driver. He could be overheard shouting
into a walkie-talkie: "Mariam Wishahi and her son are dead."
Just before the line went dead he said: "I can see many wounded in
- Dr Ahmed Rozeh, whose house overlooks the camp, claimed
he saw between 40 and 50 women and children being rounded up by soldiers
after their houses were demolished. He said all the landlines to the camp
had been destroyed.
- "For six days, I cannot reach my sister who lives
in the camp. There is no water, no electricity and no food in the camp."
There were even claims that some in the camp had resorted to drinking sewage.