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U.N. Blames Both Sides in Jenin Battle

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From Associated Press

A U.N. report on Israel’s military attack on a Palestinian refugee camp does not back up claims of a massacre, but it does criticize both sides for putting civilians in harm’s way, Western diplomats said Wednesday.

The report accuses Israel of delaying medical help to Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp. And it charges Palestinian militants with deliberately putting its fighters and equipment in civilian areas in violation of international law, the diplomats said.

The violence in Jenin came during a five-week offensive Israel launched March 29 in response to a suicide bombing that killed 29 Jews. The heaviest fighting during the period was in the Jenin camp, where Palestinians claimed that Israeli attacks killed as many as 500 people.

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The report, set to be released today, says that 52 Palestinian deaths were confirmed by April 18 and that as many as half may have been civilian. It calls the allegation that up to 500 were killed “a figure that has not been substantiated,” the diplomats said. Israel has reported 23 soldiers killed in the battle.

The U.N. findings mirror those of Human Rights Watch.

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