Khan Yunis


Khan Yunis

Infobox Palestinian Authority muni
name=Khan Yunis


imgsize=
caption=
arname=خان يونس
meaning="Jonah's Inn"
founded=
type=muna
typefrom=
altOffSp=
altUnoSp=
governorate=ky
latd=31|latm=20|lats=39.55|latNS=N
longd=34 |longm=18|longs=11.13|longEW=E
population=179,900
popyear=2006
area=
areakm=
mayor=

Khan Yunis ( _ar. خان يونس; literally "Jonah's Inn") is a city and adjacent refugee camp in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics the city, its refugee camp, and its immediate surroundings had a total population of 180,000 in 2006. [ [http://www.pcbs.gov.ps/Portals/_pcbs/populati/pop15.aspx Projected Mid -Year Population] for Khan Yunis Governorate by Locality 2004- 2006] Although Khan Yunis lies only 4 kilometers from the Mediterranean sea the climate of Khan Yunis is that of semi-arid region with an annual rainfall of approximately 260mm.

History

Khan Yunis was established during the 14th century century. It was named after its builder Yunis Ibn Abdallah an-Nawruzi ad-Dawadar. He was the executive Secretary and one of the high ranking officials of Sultan Barquq, the first Circassian Mamluk Sultan. The Khan was built in 789 Hijri/ 1387CE according to the inscription located on the main entrance to the Khan. The purpose of the Khan was to protect the caravans, pilgrims and travelers. Later it became an important center for trade, the weekly market in the town was on Thursday, and used to attract traders from neighboring regions. [ [http://www.elagha.net/e/index.htm Elagha] History of the Khan of Khan Yunis]

Khan Yunis refugee camp was founded in 1948 initially held 35,000 Palestinian Arabs. The number of refugees and their descendants registered with UNRWA in mid-2002 was 60,662.

In November 3rd 1956 , during the Suez war Israel launched an invasion into Egypt; at that time Khan Yunis was controlled by Egypt. Khan Yunis was occupied for the first time and suffered many casualties from aerial bombing.In 1967, during the Six Day war Israel occupied Khan Yunis.

In 2006 the Hamas was voted to power in the Gaza Strip. Since Israel's 2005 Gaza Disengagement, over 2,000 Kassam rockets have been launched from Khan Yunis into Israel, mostly to the Southern Israeli city of Sderot.

Khan Yunis in the al-Aqsa Intifada

Khan Yunis was the site of Israeli helicopter attacks in August 2001 and October 2002. The result of many of the helicopter attacks has left tens of civilians killed, hundreds wounded and civilian buildings within the vicinity destroyed.It is known as a stronghold of the militant Islamist group Hamas. [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/fromthearchive/story/0,,1680923,00.html Guardian] ]

The northern part of Khan Yunis overlooks the Kissufim junction — formerly one of the main roads for Israeli traffic to Gush Katif settlement. Buildings there had often been used by militants as sniping posts and mortar bases to shoot at the illegal settlements and occupation soldiers.

From Khan Yunis' northern buildings, two militants killed Tali Hatuel on May 2 2004, forcing her and her four daughters off the road and shooting them at close range. The next week, her memorial service was attacked at the same site. One building was also used as cover for an explosive-laden tunnel, which blew up an Israeli(IDF)occupation outpost on June 27. After each attack, the Israeli occupation forces bulldozed some of the structures used by the militant freedom fighters.

From September, 29 2004 till October 15 2004, the Israeli Occupation Forces killed more than 142 Palestinians, 100 of whom were civilians including many children in Jabalya Refugee camp. The number increased to more than 200 Palestinians since 29 September.

On December 16, 2004, the Israeli occupation forces raided the town with armoured bulldozers and tanks in order to stop mortar shelling of Israeli illegal settlements. In the six weeks before the operation about 80 mortar shells and Qassam rockets had hit Gush Katif settlement which had been built on land forcibly taken from the local inhabitants, killing Jitladda Tap-arsa, 19, a female agricultural worker from Udon Thani's Nong Han district in north-eastern Thailand and wounding a dozen civilians and 11 soldiers. [ [http://info.jpost.com/C002/Supplements/CasualtiesOfWar/2004_12_14.html Jpost] ] Thailand's Labor Minister Uraiwan Thienthong and its ambassador to Israel, Kasivat Paruggamanont, met with the Thai workers and asked them to leave Gush Katif, this in turn led to the Israeli settlers fearing that the settlers farms would collapse without cheap labour being available. [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=516492&contrassID=1&subContrassID=7&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y Ha'aretz] 20 December 2004 "Thai laborers flee Gaza farms" By Nir Hasson] The operation ended with about 14 Palestinians killed, most of them civilians.

As a result, Khan Yunis have been the target of frequent raids by the Israeli occupation forces, and heavy battles ensued in the area, leaving tens of Palestinians killed, a small number of whom were armed militants,with the overwhelming majority being civilians.

Israeli pullout

In 2005, Israel unilaterally pulled out of Khan Yunis and the rest of the Gaza Strip in its unilateral disengagement plan. The resistance groups hailed this as a victory over the 38 year old occupation of the Gaza strip, although the airspace and sea remain blockaded and under Israeli control.

Footnotes

References

*Pierre Rehov's " From the river to the sea "

ee also

*Palestinian refugee camps

External links

* [http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/gazastrip91.jpgclose-up map of Gaza]


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