Battle of Nablus


Battle of Nablus

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Nablus
date=April 5-8, 2002
partof=Operation Defensive Shield


caption=
place=Nablus, West Bank
result=Israeli victory
combatant1=flagcountry|Israel
combatant2=flagicon|Palestine Fatah (Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Tanzim)
commander1=Yitzhak Gershon
Aviv Kochavi
Moshe Tamir
commander2=Nasser Badawi
Nasser Awais
Husam Badran
strength1=2 regular infantry brigades
1 reserve armored brigade
strength2=1,000+
casualties1=1 dead
casualties2=78 dead (8 civilians)
Hundreds captured
casualties3=
The Battle of Nablus was fought from April 5 to April 8, 2002 in the Palestinian city of Nablus in the West Bank between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Palestinian forces, as part of Operation Defensive Shield in the Second Intifada. It resulted in an Israeli victory.

Prelude

Of all the West Bank towns, the IDF General Staff was particularly concerned about the expected resistance in Nablus, and especially in its Casbah. Hamas and Fatah had launched dozens of suicide bombers. Despite a previous successful raid on Balata, the General Staff still estimated hundreds of armed men would be entrenched in the city, causing the IDF heavy casualties. Two days after the start of Defensive Shield, an extension of the operation north of Ramallah, to Nablus and Jenin, was approved. Originally, the mission was given to a reserve division, but was later transferred to the more experienced West Bank Division. The division's commander, Brigadier General Yitzhak Gershon, received two regular infantry brigades, the Paratroopers Brigade and the Golani Brigade, along with a reserve armored division. A private contractor allowed the commander of the 890th battalion to use a construction site for training for three days.Harel and Isacharoff (2004), p. 251] There was a near-mutiny among one reserve armored platoon, who claimed they were not properly trained for urban warfare. High ranking armor officers eventually talked them into joining the operation.

Battle

The Casbah was attacked by two battalions simultaneously, using two different fighting methods. The Golani troops pushed hard, using Achzariot armored personnel carriers, and many of the Palestinian fighters fled to the western part of the Casbah, which was entrusted to the paratroopers. The Palestinians were deployed in small squads, consisting of two to four members, with each squad in charge of a sector. Explosive charges were set between the alleys and shooting positions were taken. Nasser Badawi, an Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades commander, said "We are waiting for the Israelis to get out of their armored vehicles and fight us on the ground".

The paratroopers were advancing by sending several small forces at the same time to take over houses in the Casbah and confusing the Palestinian fighters regarding the real state of affairs. Often, the Palestinians would open fire on Israeli forces, thus exposing themselves to snipers from another direction.Harel and Isacharoff (2004), p. 252] The IDF also used helicopters to fire rockets.Cite news
last = Sherwell
first = Philip
title = Helicopter raids fail to shift Palestinians in the casbah
work = Telegraph
accessdate = 2008-09-25
date = 2002-04-06
url = http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/1390013/Helicopter-raids-fail-to-shift-Palestinians-in-the-casbah.html
]

On April 8, the Palestinians announced their willingness to surrender. According to a later lecture by the Paratroopers Brigade commander, Colonel Aviv Kochavi, the Israeli Chief of Staff (Ramatkal), Shaul Mofaz, was unhappy with the fact that two other Palestinian towns, Qalqiliyah and Tulkarm, had surrendered almost without Palestinian casualties. Mofaz argued that it was better not to leave armed men in Nablus, who would resume their attacks on the IDF after the withdrawal. The acceptance of the surrender was postponed by two hours, during which the paratroopers killed more Palestinian fighters.Harel and Isacharoff (2004), p. 253]

Aftermath

About seventy Palestinian fighters and eight civilians were killed. The IDF had one officer killed by friendly fire. Hundreds of Palestinians were arrested. High ranked wanted persons, such as Nasser Awais of Fatah and Husam Badran of Hamas fled east to Tubas. They were arrested a week later. The IDF also claimed to have exposed explosive labs.Cite news
last = Frisch
first = Felix
coauthors = Ali Waked, Diana Behor
title = Chief of Staff: 200 Palestinias killed since the start of the operation
work = Ynet
accessdate = 2008-09-25
date = 2002-04-07
url = http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/1,7340,L-1815269,00.html
he icon] According to UNESCO, hundreds of buildings were affected. Sixty-four were severely damaged, seventeen of which had "particular heritage significance". Four buildings were completely destroyed.Cite conference
publisher = UNESCO
title = World Heritage 29 COM
accessdate = 2008-10-09
date = 2005-07
url = http://whc.unesco.org/download.cfm?id_document=5838
] The United Nations estimated the property damage at $110m.Cite news
title = UN puts West Bank damage at $300m
work = BBC
accessdate = 2008-10-09
date = 2002-05-07
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1971300.stm
]

References

Bibliography

*Cite book
publisher = Yedioth Aharonoth Books and Chemed Books
isbn = 9655117677 9789655117677
last = Harel
first = Amos
coauthors = Avi Isacharoff
title = The Seventh War
location = Tel-Aviv
date = 2004
he icon

External links

*Cite news
last = Bennet
first = James
title = In Nablus's Casbah, Israel Tightens the Noose
work = New York Times
accessdate = 2008-09-25
date = 2002-04-08
url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9403E1D8123DF93BA35757C0A9649C8B63

*Cite news
last = Bennet
first = James
title = Medics Move Wounded Palestinians Through Battle Zone
work = New York Times
accessdate = 2008-09-25
date = 2002-04-09
url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A03EEDF103DF93AA35757C0A9649C8B63

*Cite news
last = Goldenberg
first = Suzanne
title = Grim respite in Nablus reveals casbah toll
work = The Guardian
accessdate = 2008-09-25
date = 2002-04-09
url = http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/apr/09/israel6

*Cite conference
publisher = Gush Shalom
title = Report on the Destruction to Palestinian Institutions in Nablus and Other Cities
accessdate = 2008-10-09
date = 2002-04
url = http://www.gush-shalom.org/terror/report1.html


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