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  • July 28, 2006

    The IDF withdraws troops fr. the outskirts of Gaza City, where residents find the bodies of another Hamas mbr. and a 13-yr.-old Palestinian killed during recent clashes, 9 Palestinian homes...

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  • July 27, 2006

    In Gaza, the IDF closes the Nahal Oz pipeline; shells areas nr. Gaza City, killing at least 1 Palestinian militant, 1 Palestinian farmer working in her field; shells areas nr. Bayt Hanun (killing...

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  • July 26, 2006

    The IDF expands Operation Summer Rains overnight, sending 50 tanks, troops back into n. Gaza in and around Gaza City, engaging in intense clashes with and conducting air strikes on Palestinian...

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  • July 25, 2006

    In Gaza, the IDF shells areas nr. Khan Yunis, wounding 2 Palestinians and damaging an ambulance coming to their rescue; fires on a Palestinian family tending their fields nr. the border fence with...

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  • July 24, 2006

    In Gaza, the IDF drops leaflets on and makes automated phone calls to residents in n. Gaza warning them to evacuate areas around rocket launch sites, buildings used by militants; shells Bayt...

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  • July 23, 2006

    The IDF conducts air strikes on the home of a Hamas mbr. in Gaza City, causing severe damage; the IDF phoned the target’s cell phone and local PA police before the strike to warn them to evacuate...

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  • July 22, 2006

    The IDF continues to shell n. Gaza, wounding at least 1 Palestinian civilian. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem. A Palestinian militant wounded during...

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  • July 21, 2006

    Overnight, the IDF withdraws fr. alMaghazi r.c., leaving a total of 207 d. of land, 4 Palestinian homes demolished, 9 other homes partially demolished. Also in Gaza, the IDF fires a tank shell at...

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  • July 20, 2006

    In Gaza, the IDF continues operations in al-Maghazi r.c., engaging in heavy clashes with local gunmen, killing 4 armed Palestinians and 1 bystander, wounding at least 32 (in addition, 1...

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  • July 19, 2006

    Overnight, the IDF sends troops back into central Gaza, engaging in heavy clashes with armed Palestinians in al-Maghazi r.c. that last throughout the day, occupying houses as sniper posts, cutting...

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  • July 18, 2006

    The IDF withdraws troops fr. n. Gaza, leaving 60–130 Palestinian homes and a UNRWA clinic completely destroyed or uninhabitable; sends troops into al-Shuka village nr. Rafah, cutting electricity,...

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  • July 17, 2006

    In Gaza, the IDF expands ground operations in Bayt Hanun under artillery fire, occupying the town, firing on residential areas (killing 2 Palestinians), bulldozing land and homes, occupying houses...

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  • July 16, 2006

    The IDF sends tanks, troops back into n. Gaza before dawn, firing missiles at and exchanging gunfire with Palestinian militants, killing at least 3 Hamas mbrs., 2 PRC mbrs., wounding at least 30...

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  • July 15, 2006

    Overnight, the IDF pulls troops out of central Gaza; makes air strikes on the PA Economics Min. offices in Gaza City (causing no injuries), a factory in Gaza City (killing 1 Palestinian, wounding...

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  • July 14, 2006

    Overnight in Gaza, the IDF conducts air strikes heavily damaging the offices of Change and Reform PC mbrs. in Bayt Lahiya (causing no injuries), destroying a bridge linking Nussayrat r.c. with...

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  • July 13, 2006

    Overnight, the IDF makes air strikes destroying the PA FMin. building in Gaza City, wounding 13 bystanders (including 6 children); makes an air strike on Khan Yunis, killing 1 Islamic Jihad mbr.,...

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  • July 12, 2006

    Overnight, the IDF drops 2 quarter-ton bombs on a 3-story building in Gaza City in an attempt to assassinate chief Hamas bomb-maker Muhammad Dayif, 4 times previously the target of Israeli...

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  • June 13, 2006

    Overnight, 10,000s of Hamas supporters rally outside the PC building in Ramallah in solidarity with the Hamas-led government. During the day, the IDF launches an air strike at a minibus traveling...

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  • May 28, 2006

    The IDF reopens Gaza’s Sufa crossing; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Hebron and nr. Bethlehem, Tulkarm. (OCHA, PCHR 6/1)

    Unidentified militants in s. Lebanon (thought to be...

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  • May 26, 2006

    The IDF shuts Gaza’s Sufa commercial crossing for 2 days; shells n. Gaza, killing a Palestinian farmer, wounding a 2d Palestinian in Bayt Lahiya; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and...

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  • April 26, 2005

    The IDF closes for 48 hrs. the 2 main checkpoints on the primary north–south Gaza road; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Araba, Hebron. Palestinians fire 2 Qassam rockets at Sederot and...

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  • March 8, 2005

    The IDF fires on residential areas of Rafah; conducts arrest raids, house searches in al-Simba nr. Hebron; arrests 6 Islamic Jihad mbrs. in Jenin in connection with the 2/25 Tel Aviv bombing;...

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  • February 14, 2005

    The IDF beats, fatally shoots a 16-yr.- old Palestinian allegedly wielding a knife in Hebron (Palestinian witnesses deny he was armed); conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Ramallah, Qalqilya...

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  • December 8, 2004

    The IDF fires shells at a group of Palestinians that enters a closed military zone nr. the Gaza-Egypt border, killing 4 Palestinians, arresting 2 (1 of whom later dies in an Israeli hospital);...

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  • November 18, 2004

    IDF fatally shoots 3 Egyptian border policemen on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border whom they assumed were armed Palestinians attempting to plant a bomb or infiltrate the border; Israeli PM...
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  • January 24, 2004

    The IDF fatally shoots 2 alleged AMB mbrs., both unarmed, who enter a closed military zone in Gaza; sets up 4 new checkpoints on the main road to Qalqilya; fires on residential areas of Rafah;...

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  • January 20, 2004

    The IDF sends troops into Rafah to search for smugglers’ tunnels, completely demolishes 22 Palestinian homes, a mosque along the Rafah border with Egypt, heavily damages another 16 homes, leaving...

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  • January 19, 2004

    The IDF issues confiscation orders for 700 dunams of Palestinian land (including 10 Palestinian homes) in Dayr al-Balah nr. Kefar Darom settlement; for no apparent reason, fires on Palestinians...

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  • October 6, 2003

    The IDF shoots, wounds 4 Palestinians attempting to bypass the new checkpoint separating Rafah, Khan Yunis (see 10/5); continues bulldozing land nr. Morag settlement (Palestinians say some 400...

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  • August 15, 2003

    The IDF conducts overnight arrest raids in Qalqilya, targeting the PFLP, exchanging gunfire with some wanted men, leaving 1 Palestinian injured; conducts other arrest raids in Nablus, Tamun;...

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The IDF withdraws troops fr. the outskirts of Gaza City, where residents find the bodies of another Hamas mbr. and a 13-yr.-old Palestinian killed during recent clashes, 9 Palestinian homes completely demolished, 16 partially destroyed, at least 80 d. of agricultural land razed; conducts an air strike destroying a shed nr. the Rafah border allegedly hiding a smugglers tunnel. Palestinians fire rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, lightly wounding 2 Israelis. In the West Bank, the IDF sends troops into Azun nr. Qalqilya, fires on stone-throwing youths who confront them, wounding 1; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem. (NYT, WT 7/29; PCHR 8/3)

The IDF continues air and artillery strikes across Lebanon, including making about 70 air strikes on Baruk in the central Biqa‘ valley, hitting a convoy of civilian vehicles evacuating Rmaysh in s. Lebanon, wounding a journalist. Ground fighting continues in Bint Jubayl, where the IDF claims at least 26 Hizballah mbrs. are killed; 6 IDF soldiers wounded. Hizballah for the 1st time fires 2 Khaybar-1 rockets (range up to 50 mi, payload up to 200 lb), striking Afula, 30 mi inside Israel, just n. of the West Bank; fires more than 100 rockets into n. Israel during the day, wounding 14 Israelis and hitting targets in Carmiel, Ma’a lot, Nahariya, Safad, Tiberias. (AP, ICRC press release 7/28; NYT, WP, WT 7/29)

In Gaza, the IDF closes the Nahal Oz pipeline; shells areas nr. Gaza City, killing at least 1 Palestinian militant, 1 Palestinian farmer working in her field; shells areas nr. Bayt Hanun (killing 1 Palestinian child outside his home, wounding 5 Palestinians), in al-Shuka; makes air strikes destroying 3 houses nr. Bayt Lahiya (killing 1 Palestinian bystander), in Bayt Hanun, Khan Yunis (also destroying 2 adjacent homes). In Jerusalem, a Palestinian gunman fires on Israeli police, wounding 2 before being shot dead. In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units into Jenin r.c. in cars with Palestinian license plates, surrounds a home, opens fire (wounding a Palestinian bystander in an apartment building nearby), occupying several surrounding houses as sniper positions, evacuates and checks IDs of residents, arrests 1 Palestinian, fires on stone-throwing Palestinians who confront the troops, wounding 8 Palestinians (including 2 journalists covering the incident for al-Jazeera, Reuters); patrols in al-Bireh; begins construction of a new segment of the separation wall in Bayt Jala that will cut Palestinians off fr. 5,000 d. of agricultural land and cut off the access of Battir and Husan Nahalin villages to Bethlehem. The body of a Jewish settler fr. Yakir missing since early in the morning is found in a burnt-out vehicle nr. a West Bank Palestinian village; the AMB takes responsibility for kidnapping, killing him. In Israel, Israeli police free dual Israeli-Canadian citizen Falah after a Haifa District Court orders the police and/or Shin Bet to file formal charges against him or let him go (see 7/26). A Palestinian wounded during the 7/26 IDF raid on Kafr Qadim dies. A 2d Palestinian dies of injuries received during IDF operations in Nablus on 7/19. (OCHA 7/27; NYT 7/28; NYT 7/29; PCHR 8/3)

Israel’s security cabinet approves call-ups for up to 3 divisions of reservists (15,000–30,000 reserves) for the war on Lebanon. The IDF makes some 180 air and artillery strikes on targets across Lebanon, including hitting radio and TV relays in Amshit n. of Beirut, 3 trucks in the Biqa‘ Valley carrying emergency food supplies to Beirut. Ground clashes continue in Bint Jubayl, 2 residential apartment buildings nr. an Amal headquarters in Tyre; a Lebanese army base in n. Lebanon; roads, buildings in s. Lebanon and the Biqa‘ Valley, including al-Khiyam, Kafr, Nabatiyya, Sidon, Tuffah, Riyaq, Zahleh. The IDF broadcasts radio warnings to s. Lebanon residents that their villages would be “totally destroyed” if rockets are fired fr. them. Hizballah fires some 110 rockets into n. Israel, wounding 7 Israelis and hitting an empty factory in Haifa, also hitting sites in Carmiel, Nahariya Safad, Tiberias. (IFM 7/27; NYT, WP, WT 7/28)

The IDF expands Operation Summer Rains overnight, sending 50 tanks, troops back into n. Gaza in and around Gaza City, engaging in intense clashes with and conducting air strikes on Palestinian gunmen, leaving at least 7 Hamas mbrs., 5 Islamic Jihad mbrs., 9 civilians dead, at least 57 Palestinians wounded, bulldozing wide tracts of land. In at least 3 incidents in Jabaliya r.c., the IDF phones Hamas mbrs. warning them to evacuate their houses, then conducts air strikes destroying the homes. The IDF also closes the Qarni crossing. Palestinians fire 13 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, lightly injuring 1 Israeli in Sederot. In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units in a car with Palestinian license plates into Kafr Qadim nr. Qalqilya, surrounds a home, evacuates and checks residents, demolishes the home, arrests 1 Palestinian, injures 1; bars a Palestinian heart attack victim fr. crossing a checkpoint to reach a Qalqilya hospital, allowing him to die; patrols, searches cars in Yatta nr. Hebron; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron, and in al-Fara‘a r.c. nr. Jenin, Nablus. In Rafah, a Palestinian is killed in an exchange of fire btwn. PA security forces, armed Palestinians. Israeli security sources reveal that Israeli-Canadian citizen Falah, arrested on 7/8 and held without access to a lawyer, was detained for photographing a military antenna nr. Ras al-Naqura, alleging that he was sent “to photograph and report where rockets have landed in Israel,” noting that he visited Beirut, Tehran within the last 2 yrs.; Falah, who was arrested before Hizballah’s 7/12 cross-border raid and the firing of rockets into Israel, said the photos were for academic purposes, he did not know the antenna was military, and his trips to Lebanon, Iran were public knowledge. (REU, NYT, WP 7/26; NYT, WP, WT 7/26; PCHR 7/27; OCHA 8/2; PCHR 8/3)

The IDF faces intense fighting in s. Lebanon, where some 100 Hizballah mbrs. ambush an elite IDF Golani Brigade unit in Bint Jubayl, pinning them down for 1 hr. under a heavy barrage of mortars, antitank rounds, RPGs, and small-arms fire before they could return fire, killing 8 IDF soldiers, wounding at least 22; the IDF estimates that it killed around 20 Hizballah mbrs. A 9th IDF soldier is killed, 5 are wounded by antitank fire in clashes nr. Maroun al-Ras. Meanwhile, the IDF continues air strikes nr. Beirut and in s. Lebanon, including hitting an Amal command center and the Hizballah headquarters in Tyre. In Anjar nr. the Syrian border, a truck carrying emergency food, medical supplies donated by the UAE (see 7/18) is hit, killing the Syrian driver. Hizballah fires around 150 rockets into Israel, striking Carmiel, Haifa, Jish, Safad, Tiberias. Israel allows 2 Jordanian military transports carrying humanitarian aid to land at Beirut airport, though it still will not provide safety guarantees for trucks transporting the supplies southward on the coastal highway or across the border fr. Syria, where relief goods for 20,000 people have been stockpiled. The UN moves 5 convoys of supplies (containing wheat, soap, diapers, water purification tablets, medical kits) to the south on 5 routes approved for one-time use by the IDF. (NYT, WP, WT 7/27)

In Gaza, the IDF shells areas nr. Khan Yunis, wounding 2 Palestinians and damaging an ambulance coming to their rescue; fires on a Palestinian family tending their fields nr. the border fence with Israel e. of al-Qarara, killing a Palestinian teenager; bulldozes 7 d. of agricultural land nr. al-Maghazi r.c. Palestinians fire several rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units into al-Bireh for a day-long operation, imposes a curfew, surrounds 2 apartment buildings, occupies neighboring homes as sniper and observation posts, orders all residents out for ID checks, then raids the building arresting a wanted Palestinian; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Hebron (firing on stone-throwing Palestinians who confront the troops, wounding 1), Nablus; bulldozes 10s of d. of agricultural land nr. Bethlehem for construction of the separation wall. To protest U.S. Secy. of State Condoleezza Rice’s mtg. with Abbas today, Palestinians in Ramallah observe a general strike, 100s conduct a protest march (some waving Lebanese flags). A Jewish settler fr. Beitar Ilit nr. Bethlehem fires on a 47- yr.-old Palestinian walking nearby, wounding him with a live bullet in the jaw. A Jewish settler fr. Tene Oranim in Hebron throws a grenade at Palestinian shepherds tending a flock nearby, wounding 1 Palestinian, killing 3 sheep. A Palestinian civilian injured during IDF operations in al-Maghazi r.c. on 7/19 dies. (NYT, WP, WT 7/26; PCHR 7/27)

The IDF conducts air and artillery strikes on a UNIFIL post in al-Khiyam, hitting the area 21 times (at least 11 of them air strikes), killing 4 UNIFIL mbrs., continuing the aerial assault while rescue efforts are underway; continues air strikes in s. Beirut and across s. Lebanon, especially in Nabatiyya (where at least 6 Lebanese civilians are killed when 2 homes are hit by missiles), Tyre. Ground battles involving IDF tank and Hizballah antitank fire, fierce house-to-house combat supported by IDF artillery and helicopter fire continue in Bint Jubayl and Maroun al-Ras and are reported in Yaron to the west; by nightfall, the IDF claims to have secured control of Bint Jubayl, killed senior Hizballah cmdr. Abu Jaafir and 20–30 Hizballah mbrs., though there is no independent confirmation; at least 3 IDF soldiers are wounded. Hizballah fires more than 90 rockets into n. Israel, killing an Israeli Druze in Maghir, injuring 30 Israelis (mostly suffering fr. shock); other targets include Haifa, Ma’alot, Nahariya, Safad, Tiberias. (NYT, WP, WT 7/26; NYT 7/27)

In Gaza, the IDF drops leaflets on and makes automated phone calls to residents in n. Gaza warning them to evacuate areas around rocket launch sites, buildings used by militants; shells Bayt Lahiya, killing 3 Palestinian civilians, wounding 11 others (the IDF says a shell may have misfired); repeatedly shells Bayt Hanun and perimeter, killing 3 Palestinian civilians, wounding 8; shells a shed on a farm nr. Gaza City, allegedly serving as a weapons depot. IDF troops stationed at the Dahaniyya airport fire on residential areas of nearby al-Shuka, wounding 1 Palestinian woman outside her home. Palestinians fire 8 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Late in the evening, the IDF conducts air strikes destroying 2 Palestinian homes in Gaza City and Khan Yunis (belonging to an Islamic Jihad mbr.), damaging surrounding stores and residences, wounding 3 bystanders; in both cases, the IDF phoned the homes 20 min. before the attack to warn residents to evacuate. The IDF also makes an air strike destroying a house of a Hamas mbr. under construction in Brazil r.c., also destroying 2 neighboring homes, damaging several others, wounding 15 bystanders (including 7 children). In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Beitunia nr. Ramallah; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Jericho, Tulkarm, and in ‘Askar r.c., Azariyya, Jenin town and r.c.; bulldozes 35 d. of Palestinian land for construction of the separation wall nr. Jerusalem. (WP 7/24; NYT, WP 7/25; PCHR 7/27; B’Tselem 8/3)

IDF ground forces advance another halfmile into s. Lebanon, using bulldozers to clear roads and demolish buildings, engaging Hizballah mbrs. in Bint Jubayl and encountering artillery fire, antitank weapons, land mines, leaving 2 IDF soldiers dead, 14–20 IDF soldiers wounded, 2 Hizballah mbrs. captured, an unknown number of Hizballah casualties, up to 5 IDF tanks disabled; an IDF helicopter returning fr. Bint Jubayl crashes in the n. Galilee, killing another 2 IDF soldiers. Meanwhile, IDF-Hizballah clashes continue in Maroun al-Ras. The IDF also continues air strikes across Lebanon, targeting at least 70 Hizballah sites (particularly around Tyre), killing at least 7 Lebanese civilians; also hitting a UN post, injuring 4 UNIFIL soldiers. Hizballah fires around 80 rockets into n. Israel, injuring 20 Israelis, 2 seriously, and starting brush fires. (JAZ, NBC Nightly News, Slate, Wall Street Journal 7/24; NYT, WP, WT 7/25; WP 7/26)

The IDF conducts air strikes on the home of a Hamas mbr. in Gaza City, causing severe damage; the IDF phoned the target’s cell phone and local PA police before the strike to warn them to evacuate the house. The IDF also sends troops, bulldozers into the Erez industrial zone, firing on residential areas inside Gaza, wounding at least 1 Palestinian civilian. Palestinians fire around 12 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries; also fire on an IDF post at Erez crossing, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin. Just after dawn, 3 armed Jewish settlers break into a Palestinian home in Haris nr. Salfit, threaten residents; the IDF intervenes, stating that the Palestinians had “threatened the security of settlers.” The PA makes payments of $330 to each of 165,000 civil servants who have not received salaries since 3/06. (NYT, WP, WT 7/24; OCHA, PCHR 7/27)

The IDF continues air strikes across Lebanon, hitting Hizballah leadership posts in Beirut, targets in Sidon and the eastern Biqa‘ Valley, road traffic in s. Lebanon (including convoys of civilians heading north); ground troops in Maroun al-Ras move 2 mi deeper into Lebanon, engaging Hizballah mbrs. in Bint Jubayl. At least 8 Lebanese (including a press photographer) are killed and 45 wounded during the day. Hizballah fires nearly 100 rockets on n. Israel, hitting Haifa (killing 1 Israeli, 1 Israeli Palestinian; wounding 18). Israel says it has fired more than 20,000 artillery shells into Lebanon since 7/12. (NYT 7/23; NYT, WP, WT 7/24)

The IDF continues to shell n. Gaza, wounding at least 1 Palestinian civilian. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem. A Palestinian militant wounded during the 7/19–20 IDF raid on al-Maghazi r.c. dies of his injuries. (PCHR 7/27)

The IDF continues its troop build-up on the n. Israel border, artillery strikes and heavy air raids across Lebanon, incursions by small special forces units into the south. In its 1st major ground operation, the IDF sends some 2,000 soldiers, a tank brigade, armor into Maroun al-Ras (a Hizballah stronghold, reportedly largely depopulated since fighting began) on the central s. Lebanese border, stating later that after heavy, close combat, it has taken control of the town and several surrounding villages; at least 3 Hizballah mbrs., as many as 7 IDF soldiers may have been killed, several tanks disabled. Meanwhile, the IDF continues to warn s. Lebanon residents to move northward; Sidon reports some 35,000 displaced Lebanese arriving in the city today; Tyre, the largest s. Lebanese town, reports that only around 5,000 of its 175,000 residents remain. Among the targets hit in IDF air strikes are TV and cell phone transmission towers n. of Beirut (killing at least 1 Lebanese); 2 ICRC ambulances nr. Qana, killing 1 patient and injuring 6 medics, 2 patients; Hizballah targets in Baalbek, s. Beirut, Hermel, Sidon, Tyre. At least 8 Lebanese are killed during the day. Hizballah fires some 130 rockets into n. Israel, wounding 10–20 Israelis (3 seriously); targets include Carmiel, Haifa, Kiryat Shimona, Nahariya, Safad. Israel allows some ships bearing humanitarian aid to enter Lebanese ports. (AFP 7/22; NYT, WP, WT 7/23; NYT 7/24; WP 7/25)

Overnight, the IDF withdraws fr. alMaghazi r.c., leaving a total of 207 d. of land, 4 Palestinian homes demolished, 9 other homes partially demolished. Also in Gaza, the IDF fires a tank shell at a home in Gaza City, alleging that a Hamas mbr. on the roof was preparing to fire an RPG, killing a handicapped Palestinian on the roof, 3 relatives inside, wounding 2; shells areas nr. Khan Yunis and the Sufa crossing in the south and in n. Gaza, wounding at least 6 Palestinian civilians. In the West Bank, the IDF withdraws troops fr. Nablus, ending a 3-day operation; before leaving, troops blow up the main government offices (killing a Palestinian bystander), fire on stone-throwing Palestinians youths, wounding 21. The IDF also conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Qalqilya. (WP 7/21; NYT, PCHR 7/22; PCHR 7/27; B’Tselem 8/3)

The IDF calls up 3 battalions (several 1,000) additional reserves, positions troops and armor on the n. Israel border in preparation for “limited” ground operations to “mop up” Hizballah strongholds and weapons sites, continues pinpoint special forces operations inside s. Lebanon, urges residents to evacuate n. of the Litani River immediately (see 7/20; local officials estimate that 70% of the southern population has left). The U.S. approves Israel’s request to expedite delivery of precision-guided missiles (including at least 25, possibly 100, 5,000-lb GBU-28 bunker busters) to maintain the intensity of IDF air strikes. IDF artillery hits a UN observation post in Zarit, s. Lebanon, causing extensive damage but no injuries; makes air strikes on the Beirut–Damascus highway and several bridges, targeting empty passenger busses returning fr. Syria after evacuating foreigners; continues air strikes on Baalbek (killing at least 5 Lebanese civilians, wounding 20) and on s. Lebanon. At least 12 Lebanese are killed during the day. Hizballah fires 35–50 rockets into n. Israel, 10 of them hitting Haifa (injuring 3 Israelis) and others hitting Carmiel, Kiryat Shimona, Nahariya, Safad, Tiberias, and several n. Israeli villages. Hizballah acknowledges that 6 Hizballah mbrs. have been killed since 7/12, whereas Israel claims that around 100 have been killed. UN humanitarian relief coordinator Jan Egeland estimates that 500,000 Lebanese are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, but says that the UN cannot provide it without Israel, Lebanon guaranteeing safe corridors for movement of civilians and aid. Today, Israel allows 1 Greek ship carrying 22 tons of humanitarian goods to enter Beirut. (AP 7/21; NYT, WP, WT 7/22; NYT 8/11)

In Gaza, the IDF continues operations in al-Maghazi r.c., engaging in heavy clashes with local gunmen, killing 4 armed Palestinians and 1 bystander, wounding at least 32 (in addition, 1 Palestinian child wounded in al-Maghazi on 7/19 dies of her injuries); drops leaflets across Gaza warning that “anyone who has . . . an arsenal, ammunition, or weapons in their house must destroy them or will face dangerous consequences.” The IDF also continues to shell n. and s. Gaza to prevent rocket fire; makes air strikes on 2 groups of Palestinians allegedly laying roadside bombs (no injuries are reported); fires warning shots fr. gunboats to keep Palestinian fishermen fr. going out to sea. Palestinians fire at least 1 rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, lightly wounding 1 Israeli. In the West Bank, the IDF continues major operations in Nablus, surrounding the local PA headquarters where a number of wanted Palestinians have taken refuge since fighting began on 7/19; 15 give themselves up during the day, but 10 remain inside, as IDF tanks shell the building and bulldozers begin to demolish the structure, troops fire on stone-throwing Palestinians who confront them (wounding 5). Also in Nablus, some 4,000 Palestinians demonstrate in support of Hizballah. The IDF also conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron; clears Palestinian trees nr. Har Homa settlement. (NYT, WP 7/21; IFM 7/22; PCHR 7/27)

Israel warns Lebanese s. of the Litani River that they have 24 hrs. to evacuate to the north. The IDF increases pinpoint ground operations in s. Lebanon, engaging in fierce clashes with Hizballah, leaving at least 2 IDF soldiers, 2 Hizballah mbrs. dead and 6 IDF soldiers injured; sends tanks, bulldozers across the n. border to destroy tunnels, bunkers, posts used by Hizballah (Hizballah claims to destroy 2 tanks; the IDF does not comment); continues air and artillery strikes on 150 targets across Lebanon, including Baalbek, Hermel, and al-Khiyam (destroying the infamous jail there, formerly run by Israel’s proxy, the South Lebanon Army). Late in the evening, 2 IDF helicopters collide over n. Israel nr. the Lebanese border, killing at least 4 IDF soldiers. Hizballah fires some 40 rockets at n. Israel, hitting Carmiel, Kiryat Shimona, Safad, Tiberias; there are no reported injuries. Syria reports that more than 140,000 people have crossed over fr. Lebanon since the violence began. Some 10,000 foreigners are evacuated by sea fr. Beirut and Tyre (including some 2,250 Americans and many Southeast Asian laborers evacuated by the Indian navy); UNIFIL evacuates its post at Naqura. Lebanese report that the cost of basic goods has risen 500% in some areas. (BBC, UNIS, WP 7/20; AP, NYT, WP, WT 7/21; WP 7/22)

Overnight, the IDF sends troops back into central Gaza, engaging in heavy clashes with armed Palestinians in al-Maghazi r.c. that last throughout the day, occupying houses as sniper posts, cutting electricity to central Gaza, conducting air and artillery strikes, leaving 5 Hamas mbrs., 4 Palestinian bystanders dead and 5 IDF soldiers, 93 Palestinians wounded (mostly militants, most with shrapnel fr. tank fire; also including 20 children). The IDF also continues to shell n. Gaza fr. land and sea. In the West Bank, the IDF sends around 50 armored vehicles into Nablus in a major raid allegedly to search for Palestinian militants “activated by Hizballah” to stage attacks on Israel, laying siege to the Nablus governorate building, the government compound (mostly destroyed during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002), 3 security force buildings, the central prison; forcing out and detaining around 150 Palestinians (many PA security officers); killing 3 armed AMB mbrs. and 2 bystanders (including a medic), wounding 33 (including 16 children, 2 Palestinian); demolishing the main PA security compound, at least 6 other PA buildings; occupying the Palestinian Red Crescent Society offices, preventing the movement of ambulances. The IDF also patrols in, fires on residential areas of Anabta nr. Tulkarm. (NYT, WP, WT 7/19; Guardian, ICRC press release, NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 7/20; NYT 7/21; IFM, NYT 7/22; PCHR 7/27)

The IDF continues to escalate air and artillery strikes across Lebanon. At least 58 Lebanese (including at least 35 civilians) and 4 Israelis (2 soldiers, 2 civilians) are killed during the day, bringing the comprehensive toll to at least 310 Lebanese (overwhelmingly civilian) and 29 Israelis (at least 15 civilians, 13 soldiers). Sites hit include Srifa nr. Tyre, where air strikes level at least 20 buildings, killing at least 21 Lebanese, wounding 30, leaving as many as 80 unaccounted for; a Christian neighborhood in e. Beirut, hitting 2 well-drilling machines mistaken for rocket launchers in Ashrafiyya, causing no injuries; a bunker in s. Beirut believed to be housing Hizballah leaders, hit with 23 tons of explosives according to the IDF (Hizballah says the site was vacant); 2 PFLP-GC bases in the Biqa‘ Valley. The IDF also makes ground incursions into s. Lebanon, engaging Hizballah fighters; 2 Hizballah mbr. and 2 IDF soldiers are reportedly killed, 9 IDF soldiers injured, and 1 Israeli tank destroyed nr. Naqura. The IDF also clashes with Hizballah mbrs. who try to cross into n. Israel nr. Metula, chasing them back across the border, killing 2 Hizballah mbrs. Hizballah retaliates by launching more than 100 rockets on n. Israel, hitting Haifa and, for the 1st time, Nazareth, where 2 Israeli Palestinian boys are killed and 8 are wounded; 10s of light injuries occur elsewhere. Residents in s. Lebanon begin receiving tape-recorded phone messages fr. the IDF ordering them in Arabic to evacuate. Israel also interrupts Lebanese radio broadcasts to warn that any truck, including pickups, traveling s. of the Litani River would be assumed to be transporting weapons and targeted. (AP, REU 7/19; NYT, WP, WT 7/20)

The IDF withdraws troops fr. n. Gaza, leaving 60–130 Palestinian homes and a UNRWA clinic completely destroyed or uninhabitable; sends troops into al-Shuka village nr. Rafah, cutting electricity, bulldozing large areas of agricultural land, forcing 97 families (703 Palestinians) to flee their homes (UNRWA sets up 3 tent shelters in Jabaliya r.c. to house them); fires across the border into residential areas of Nussayrat r.c., wounding 1 Palestinian; shells and fires missiles fr. helicopters at areas in and around Abasan and nr. Khan Yunis; allows EU monitors to reopen the Rafah crossing for entry to Gaza; resumes shelling of n. Gaza late in the evening. Palestinians fire 2 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units into Bethlehem, raiding an apartment building, checking residents’ IDs, detaining 1 Palestinian; raids, vandalizes an UNRWA office and a youth center in Aida r.c.; raids the Ramallah Governate offices and the nearby office of the Palestine News Agency (WAFA), vandalizing them, detaining 5 Palestinians, including 2 PA police officers; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Jenin. Unidentified gunmen fire on the home of a senior PSF official, killing 1 bodyguard, wounding 2. (OCHA 7/18; NYT 7/19; PCHR 7/20; OCHA 7/27)

The IDF strikes at least 110 targets across Lebanon, hitting a Lebanese army base (killing 11 soldiers, wounding 35), a home in s. Lebanon (killing 9 Lebanese civilians), targets in Baalbek; targets trucks in what is seen as a new campaign aimed at preventing Hizballah from relocating rockets, though most trucks hit are civilian ones bearing essential goods to Lebanese towns, including destroying a convoy in the Biqa‘ Valley carrying medical supplies fr. the UAE; continuing to destroy roads and bridges. At least 20 Lebanese are killed during the day. The IDF confirms that small special forces teams have been conducting “pinpoint operations” in s. Lebanon, searching for arms caches and tunnels, withdrawing quickly; today some teams clash with Hizballah mbrs. reportedly leaving 2 IDF soldiers dead, 3 injured. Hizballah fires up to 130 rockets at some 10 cities in n. Israel, killing 1 Israeli, wounding around 20 in Nahariya, also hitting Haifa, Kiryat Shimona, Safad, Tiberias. The UN estimates that 500,000 Lebanese (out of a population of 4 million) have fled their homes to escape the violence. Lebanese begin to report shortages and rising costs of essential items, such as food and gas; begin withdrawing cash from banks and converting money into dollars in preparation for long-term deflation and economic hardship. (AP 7/18; AP, REU 7/19; NYT, WP, WT 7/19)

In Gaza, the IDF expands ground operations in Bayt Hanun under artillery fire, occupying the town, firing on residential areas (killing 2 Palestinians), bulldozing land and homes, occupying houses as military bases, forcing some residents to flee; fires 2 artillery shells at a group of Palestinian children playing soccer in al-Bureij r.c., wounding a 14-yr.-old; fires on residential areas of Abasan, wounding 1 Palestinian. Palestinians fire at least 7 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, lightly injuring 2 Israelis. In the West Bank, the IDF makes a raid on Nablus, where Palestinian militants throw an explosive device at troops, killing 1 IDF soldier, wounding 6; sends undercover units into Bethlehem to detain a wanted AMB mbr.; conducts late-night arrest raids nr. Nablus, Qalqilya. For a 2d day (see 7/16), the IDF detains al-Jazeera satellite TV’s Jerusalem bureau chief for questioning regarding violating Israeli military censorship rules. (AP 7/17; WP 7/18; PCHR 7/20)

The IDF intensifies attacks on e. and n. Lebanon, hitting Lebanese army barracks in Tripoli and army bases in Baalbek (killing 9 Lebanese soldiers), homes of Hizballah officials in the east; conducting heavy bombing of s. Beirut to destroy underground bunkers where Nasrallah and Hizballah’s senior leadership may be hiding; hitting fuel depots at the Beirut airport for a 2d time. In total, at least 38 Lebanese (mostly civilians) are killed during the day, including 12 civilians killed when the IDF targets a minibus in s. Lebanon. Hizballah responds by firing at least 30 rockets on n. Israel, including hitting Haifa with 3 rockets, shearing the front of an apartment building, wounding 6 Israelis. Britain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Ukraine, the U.S. begin evacuating their nationals. (NYT, WP 7/17; NYT, WP, WT 7/18) 

The IDF sends tanks, troops back into n. Gaza before dawn, firing missiles at and exchanging gunfire with Palestinian militants, killing at least 3 Hamas mbrs., 2 PRC mbrs., wounding at least 30 persons (including 1 Japanese and 1 Palestinian journalist, 2 paramedics) nr. Bayt Hanun and conducting arrest raids, house searches in Bayt Hanun; continues to shell n. Gaza, areas nr. Rafah (killing a 59-yr.-old Palestinian woman); makes a predawn air strike on PA FMin. offices in Gaza City, wounding 3 Palestinians; makes a 2d air strike on the FMin. complex late in the evening, destroying it, wounding 12 bystanders, damaging several nearby homes; fires missiles fr. helicopters at the ESF compound in Jabaliya, damaging it. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Bethlehem and in and around Hebron (also searching and confiscating documents fr. the Islamic Society for Orphans), Nablus; begins work on a new segment of the separation wall southwest of Hebron. The IDF also detains for several hrs. al-Jazeera satellite TV’s Jerusalem bureau chief for questioning regarding violating Israeli military censorship rules. Jewish settlers fr. Tal Rumayda attack Palestinians, international peace activists in Hebron. Unidentified gunmen fatally shoot a PA security officer in Gaza. (AP, IMEMC, NYT 7/16; AP, NYT, WP, WT 7/17; OCHA, PCHR 7/18; OCHA 7/19; PCHR 7/20)

Overnight, the IDF launches heavy missile barrages and air strikes on s. Beirut suburbs (leveling wide swaths around the Hizballah headquarters) and s. Lebanon, hitting a major power station. In response, Hizballah fires some 20 rockets on Haifa, killing 8 Israelis and wounding 7 at a rail yard, hitting the city’s main oil refinery and gas depot, and a busy downtown street at rush hour; the IDF says that 4 of the rockets fired were Iranian made Fajr missiles (which, if confirmed, would mark Hizballah’s 1st use of the weapons), but Hizballah says it fired only Raad-2 and Raad-3 missiles. The IDF strikes back during the day, ordering Lebanese to evacuate 7 villages in s. Lebanon; hitting at least 80 targets across Lebanon, killing at least 45 Lebanese and wounding more than 100, including killing 20 in an air strike on a government civil defense building in Tyre (also wounding 50) and 8 dual Canadian citizens in a strike on a minibus in s. Lebanon; also killing a Ghanaian UNIFIL soldier and his family in an air strike on his house; leveling an apartment building in s. Beirut, knocking out electricity in many areas of the capital. (AP, HA, IFM 7/16; NYT, WP, WT 7/17)

Overnight, the IDF pulls troops out of central Gaza; makes air strikes on the PA Economics Min. offices in Gaza City (causing no injuries), a factory in Gaza City (killing 1 Palestinian, wounding at least 9), a bridge nr. Bureij r.c.; fatally shoots an unarmed Palestinian who strays close to the Kissufim crossing. Palestinians fire several rockets into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron. A Palestinian dies of injuries received during the IDF’s 7/6 failed assassination attempt on Zubaydi and Sadi. (NYT, WP 7/15; NYT 7/16; PCHR 7/20)

The IDF escalates its attacks on Lebanon, completing the naval blockade of the coast; making air strikes on Hizballah offices, homes of Hizballah leaders and a senior Hamas official; hitting scores of civilian infrastructure targets, particularly in pro-Hizballah neighborhoods in s. Beirut and s. Lebanon, and roads and bridges in e. and n. Lebanon (including destroying the last bridge on the Beirut–Damascus highway), also destroying numerous gas stations, fuel depots (including hitting Jiyeh terminal for a 2d day, creating a major oil slick), a major power plant s. of the capital; shelling ports in Amshit, Batrun, Beirut, Juniyah, Sidon, Tripoli, and Tyre and hitting a radar installation in the new Manara lighthouse in Beirut to disable Lebanon’s coast radar defenses. At least 16 Lebanese civilians are killed in an air strike on a civilian convoy fleeing Marwahin village in s. Lebanon after Israel warned residents to evacuate, bringing the estimated death toll since the start of the crisis to 92 Lebanese killed and at least 250 wounded, almost all of them civilians. Hizballah fires some 90 Katyushas at n. Israel during the day, hitting Tiberias for the 1st time, as well as Carmiel and Nahariya, lightly injuring at least 11 Israelis. Italy begins evacuating its citizens fr. Lebanon; Britain, France, the U.S. say they have plans to do the same. (HA, NYT, WP, WT 7/16; NYT 7/29; WP 8/1; NYT 8/3)

Overnight in Gaza, the IDF conducts air strikes heavily damaging the offices of Change and Reform PC mbrs. in Bayt Lahiya (causing no injuries), destroying a bridge linking Nussayrat r.c. with alMughraqa; directs tank fire on a Palestinian truck approaching its position but refusing orders to halt, killing 1 Palestinian, wounding a 2d. During the day, the IDF continues to shell n. Gaza, targeting 2 PA security offices and damaging 4 Palestinian homes; bulldozes 83 d. of Palestinian land nr. Dayr al-Balah, more than 100 d. of land outside al-Qarara; fires on residential areas of Khuza’ nr. the border, wounding a Palestinian woman inside her home. Some 50 Palestinian militants temporarily take over the Rafah crossing, allowing as many as half of the 4,000 Palestinian stranded on the Egyptian side to enter Gaza; Egyptian border police block Palestinians who try to cross fr. Gaza into Egypt. Palestinians fire at least 7 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing damage in 1 incident but no injuries. The IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron, in Tulkarm; prevents Palestinians under age 45 fr. attending Friday prayers at al-Aqsa mosque. (HA, JP 7/14; NYT, WP 7/15; OCHA 7/19; PCHR 7/20)

Overnight, after Olmert’s security cabinet approves a list of “more significant” Hizballah targets, the IDF makes air strikes on Hizballah sites in s. Beirut and targets the Beirut–Damascus highway (in an attempt to complete an air, sea, and land blockade on Lebanon). During the day, the IDF extends the naval blockade northwards to Tripoli; shells numerous bridges, roads, other civilian infrastructure, especially in s. Beirut; makes air strikes on the building serving as Hizballah’s headquarters and Nasrallah’s residence (destroying it), its al-Nur radio station (missing and hitting an apartment building), and the Beirut airport, a major power plant and a bridge s. of the capital, a PFLP base nr. the Syrian border. At least 8 Lebanese civilians are reported killed (3 in Beirut, 5 in the south), 55 injured during the day, raising the estimated death toll since the start of operations to 66 Lebanese (overwhelmingly civilians), more than 200 wounded. Hizballah continues to fire Katyushas at n. Israel, killing an Israeli woman,her 5-yr.-old grandson in Moshav Meron and injuring as many as 50 Israelis across the Galilee, including in Acre, Carmiel, Kiryat Shimona, Nahariya, Safad. Hizballah also hits an Israeli naval ship 10-mi off the coast nr. Beirut, disabling it, killing 1 Israeli sailor, leaving 3 other sailors missing, raising the comprehensive death toll to 13 Israelis killed (the majority soldiers), around 150 injured (mostly suffering shock). (HA, NYT, WT 7/14; NYT, WP, WT 7/15; NYT, WP 7/16; NYT 7/17, 7/19)

Overnight, the IDF makes air strikes destroying the PA FMin. building in Gaza City, wounding 13 bystanders (including 6 children); makes an air strike on Khan Yunis, killing 1 Islamic Jihad mbr., wounding a 2d; sends troops into al-Qarara, firing on residential and agricultural areas. During the day in Gaza, the IDF continues to shell n. Gaza, wounding at least 2 Palestinians; fires on residential areas nr. Sufa crossing, wounding a Palestinian child outside his home. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Salfit; uproots 50 Palestinian trees nr. the separation wall in Bayt Jala for “security reasons.” A Palestinian teenager wounded in a 7/10 IDF air strike on Bayt Hanun dies. (NYT, WP 7/13; PCHR 7/20)

Officially launching Operation Just Reward (ca. 7/18 renamed Operation Change of Direction), the IDF makes predawn air strikes on s. Lebanon that kill at least 44 Lebanese civilians, wound around 100. Hizballah responds by firing some 60 Katyusha rockets on n. Israel, hitting a home in Nahariya (killing 1 Israeli woman, wounding 29), wounding 11 in Safad, and hitting the northern towns of Carmiel, Majdal Qrum, Zarit. During the day, the IDF intensifies its attacks on Lebanon to cut Hizballah supply lines and prevent internal transportation of weapons and fighters, imposing a naval blockade on Lebanese ports north to Beirut and making air strikes on Beirut International Airport, the Lebanese army’s main Rayak air base nr. the Syrian border, a small military airport in Qulayat in n. Lebanon, Hizballah’s al-Manar TV station outside Beirut (wounding 6) and a relay tower in Baalbek (killing 1 Lebanese, wounding 4), a major oil depot in Jiyeh, numerous roads and bridges. AfterIsrael warns Lebanese to evacuate Hizballah-dominated areas of s. Beirut, Hizballah threatens to strike Haifa if Beirut is targeted. When the IDF conducts overflights of Beirut shortly afterward, Hizballah fires 2 Katyushas at Haifa, damaging a hotel but causing no injuries. Israeli-Hizballah exchanges continue late into the evening, with Hizballah firing around 90 rockets and mortars into Israel, hitting some 20 northern towns and killing a 2d Israeli, whileIsrael attacks 100s of targets across Lebanon (mostly in the south, but including hitting Beirut airport a 2d time, with artillery reportedly fired at a rate of 1 shell per minute throughout the day), killing at least another 10 Lebanese. Total casualties for the day are estimated at 54 Lebanese (overwhelmingly civilians) killed and 103 wounded, and 2 Israelis killed and 90 injured (1 seriously, two-thirds being treated for shock). Israel also warns UNIFIL that the IDF will target anyone moving nr. the Blue Line, including UNIFIL observers, prompting UNIFIL to confine its 2,500 troops (who are either unarmed or lightly armed for personal defense only) to barracks. (AP, HA, MSNBC, National Public Radio, REU 7/13; NYT, UNIS, WP, WT 7/14)

Overnight, the IDF drops 2 quarter-ton bombs on a 3-story building in Gaza City in an attempt to assassinate chief Hamas bomb-maker Muhammad Dayif, 4 times previously the target of Israeli assassination since 2000, wounding Dayif, killing senior Hamas mbr. Nabil al-Salima,his wife and 7 children, wounding Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades n. Gaza cmdr. Ahmad al-Gander and at least 33 bystanders, seriously damaging 15 surrounding homes. At the same time, the IDF also expands Operation Summer Rains with a major incursion into central Gaza, sending 10s of tanks, APCs, armored bulldozers across the Kissufim crossing under helicopter and drone escort and moving troops north fr. positions nr. Abasan, cutting the Strip in half, ordering PA security forces to leave the area, shelling and bulldozing surrounding areas. During the day, the IDF reportedly kills at least 22 other Palestinians and wounds at least 14 in major gun battles nr. Dayr al-Balah in central Gaza and in air and artillery strikes around Dayr al-Balah and Khan Yunis; the PRC’s Salah al-Din Brigades Khan Yunis leader Hisham Abu Nusayra, a PA policeman are killed in separate air strikes in Khan Yunis and a police station in alQarara is hit. The IDF also bulldozes 65 d. of agricultural land, partially demolishes 8 Palestinian homes and a car, and occupies 10 Palestinian homes as military posts in Dayr al-Balah; withdraws fr. the Qarni industrial estate (held since 7/8), allowing humanitarian and commercial imports to resume, and from Dahaniyya airport (held since 6/28), allowing PA security forces to enter the airport and the Rafah crossing and around 1,000 displaced Palestinians (see 7/8) to return to their homes. Palestinians try to fire rockets fr. Gaza toward Kissufim, but they fall short, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units into Dura, Nablus to conduct arrest raids. A Palestinian militant dies of injuries received during the 7/7 IDF air strikes on Bayt Lahiya. (BBC, HA, IMEMC, NYT, OCHA, PCHR, WP, WT 7/12; NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 7/13; PCHR 7/20; NYT 7/21; B’Tselem 8/3)

Before dawn, Hizballah launches a crossborder attack on Israel, dubbed Operation True Promise, firing rockets across the Blue Line into n. Israel as a diversion; sending fighters in to n. Israel to attack an IDF patrol btwn. Zarit and Shetula, capturing 2 IDF soldiers, killing 3 soldiers, wounding 2. The IDF sends troops into Lebanon to search for the missing soldiers, where an IDF tank hits a mine, killing 4 IDF soldiers and marking Israel’s 1st ground incursion into Lebanon since its 5/00 withdrawal. (An 8th IDF soldier is killed, 2 others are wounded in Lebanon late in the evening as they try to recover the remains of the 4 tank occupants.) The IDF also launches air strikes and directs heavy artillery, tank fire on some 40 Hizballah positions, roads, bridges, power stations in s. Lebanon, killing at least 2 Lebanese civilians, 1 Lebanese soldier, wounding at least 10. The Lebanese government requests that UNIFIL broker a cease-fire, but Israel says a cease-fire would be contingent upon return of the captured soldiers. Hizballah leader Shaykh Hasan Nasrallah says the group plans to hold the 2 soldiers for the release of 3–4 Lebanese held by Israel. During the day, IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz calls up a reserve infantry division for deployment to the n. Israel border and sends the Israeli navy into Lebanese waters, threatening a massive invasion of Lebanon; makes air strikes on a Palestinian guerrilla base s. of Beirut. (BBC, HA, IFM 7/12; HA, IFM, NYT, WP, WT 7/13; UNIS 7/14)

Overnight, 10,000s of Hamas supporters rally outside the PC building in Ramallah in solidarity with the Hamas-led government. During the day, the IDF launches an air strike at a minibus traveling in downtown Gaza City, assassinating 2 Islamic Jihad mbrs. (Shawqi al-Saiqali, Hamad Wadiya); 7 minutes later, as medics and crowds gather at the scene, the IDF makes a 2d air strike on the site, killing 4 Palestinian medics, 5 Palestinian bystanders, wounding 32; IDF chief of staff Dan Halutz says, “We are saddened by the deaths of these innocent Palestinians but hold absolutely no responsibility for them.” The IDF also occupies a Palestinian home in Jenin as a sniper post, then assassinates AMB mbr. Muhammad al-Wahish with a bullet to the chest (the target of an assassination attempt earlier in 2006); fires across the border on a funeral procession in Jabaliya r.c., wounding 3 Palestinian teenagers; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Jenin and nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus. In addition, the IDF claims that its investigation of the 6/9 explosion on the Bayt Lahiya beach that killed 8 Palestinians was not caused by Israeli fire but by a Palestinian land mine; Palestinians and a Human Rights Watch senior military analyst dispute this based on the crater pattern, shrapnel at the scene, injuries of the wounded. Jewish settlers fr. Avraham Avino settlement vandalize several Palestinian homes in Hebron. Jewish settlers fr. Ma’on settlement beat several Palestinian farmers working their fields in Yatta, outside Hebron, pouring toxic substances onto their agricultural land, setting fire to 1,500 sq. m. of crops. In Nablus, Hamas mbrs. rally against Fatah rampages in Ramallah on 6/12. (MM, NYT, PCHR 6/13; IFM, NYT, WP, WT 6/14; PCHR 6/15; MM 6/16; Guardian, HA, Independent 6/17; OCHA, REU 6/21)

A Lebanese, Mahmud Rafih, confesses to running a network for Mossad, killing asenior Islamic Jihad mbr. on 5/26. (WP 6/14; MM 6/16; XIN 6/17; MM 6/20; SFR 6/21)

The IDF reopens Gaza’s Sufa crossing; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Hebron and nr. Bethlehem, Tulkarm. (OCHA, PCHR 6/1)

Unidentified militants in s. Lebanon (thought to be Hizballah mbrs. retaliating on behalf of Islamic Jihad for the suspected Israeli assassination of a senior Islamic Jihad mbr. on 5/26) fire Katyusha rockets across the border at an IDF post, seriously injuring 1 IDF soldier. The IDF makes air strikes on 2 Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine–General Command (PFLPGC) posts, on a weapons depot nr. the Syrian border in the Biqa‘Valley and in s. Beirut, killing 1 PFLP-GC mbr., wounding at least 5. Later, Hizballah fires mortars, rockets toward at least 10 IDF outposts on the n. Israel border, wounding 1 IDF solider; the IDF fires artillery, conducts air strikes on Hizballah targets in s. Lebanon, killing at least 1 Hizballah mbr., wounding 2 civilians; Hizballah fires several rockets into n. Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) brokers a cease-fire. (IFM, NYT, WP, WT 5/29; MM 5/30; NYT 6/1; MM 6/2)

The IDF shuts Gaza’s Sufa commercial crossing for 2 days; shells n. Gaza, killing a Palestinian farmer, wounding a 2d Palestinian in Bayt Lahiya; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus, nr. Qalqilya, and in Hebron, Qabatya, and Yamun nr. Jenin. In n. Gaza, 3 Palestinian teenagers are killed, 3 Palestinians are wounded when they accidentally detonate unexploded IDF ordnance. A Palestinian dies of injuries he received when the IDF fired on his car nr. Nablus on 4/15. (WP, WT 5/27; OCHA, PCHR 6/1)

In Sidon, Lebanon, senior Islamic Jihad official Mahmud Majzub, his brother are killed when a bomb in their car explodes. Israel denies responsibility. (MM 5/26; NYT 5/27; MM 5/30; SFR 6/21)

The IDF closes for 48 hrs. the 2 main checkpoints on the primary north–south Gaza road; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Araba, Hebron. Palestinians fire 2 Qassam rockets at Sederot and the Negev, causing no damage or injuries. Jewish settlers severely beat 3 Palestinians in Hebron. (MA, VOP 4/27 in WNC 4/28; PCHR 4/28, 5/5)

Syria reports that its last troops, intelligence forces have withdraw fr. Lebanon. (MM, NYT, WP 4/26; MM, NYT, WP, WT 4/27; see also NYT, WP 4/25; MEI 4/29) (see 3/8)

The IDF fires on residential areas of Rafah; conducts arrest raids, house searches in al-Simba nr. Hebron; arrests 6 Islamic Jihad mbrs. in Jenin in connection with the 2/25 Tel Aviv bombing; raids, ransacks the home of a PA police officer in Qalqilya, arrests him and 3 other Palestinians without explanation. Separately, Shin Bet announces it has captured a PA policeman wanted in connection with the lynching of 2 IDF reservists in Ramallah in 10/00. Armed Jewish settlers fr. Keddumim nr. Qalqilya bar Palestinian farmers fr. working their fields near the settlement. Jewish settlers fr. Ramat Yishai in Hebron attack Palestinian property in Tal Rumayda, causing damage but no injuries. Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba threaten Palestinians in Wadi al-Nasara neighborhood, block Palestinians from moving on the road that leads to the Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs. (VOI 3/8; VOP 3/8 in WNC 3/9; HA 3/9; PCHR 3/10; OCHA 3/16; PCHR 3/17)

Syria begins redeploying its troops in Lebanon to the Biqa‘ Valley in preparation for the withdrawal of all 14,000 soldiers and 1,000 intelligence officers. The move comes under international pressure on Syria to comply with UN Res. 1559 in the wake of the 2/14 assassination of fmr. Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri. (JAZ, MM, NYT, WP, WT 3/8; AFP, DUS, JAZ, MENA 3/8, JAZ 3/9 in WNC 3/9; MM 3/9; JAZ, MM 3/10; MEI 3/18, 4/1)

The IDF beats, fatally shoots a 16-yr.- old Palestinian allegedly wielding a knife in Hebron (Palestinian witnesses deny he was armed); conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Ramallah, Qalqilya, and in Dura, Nablus, Yatta; demolishes 2 Palestinian homes in Bayt Hanina; orders 3 Palestinian families to leave their Yatta homes and property or be expelled; begins construction of a new segment of the separation wall in Hazma, Anata villages northeast of Jerusalem. A Jewish settler fr. Keddumim verbally abuses, attempts to attack several Palestinians waiting to be allowed to cross an IDF gate into nearby Kafr Qadim; Palestinians fend him off, the IDF does not intervene. Unidentified gunmen fire on the Gaza City home of Fatah Revolutionary Council mbr. Sakhr Bseiso, causing damage but no injuries; Bseiso is head of the Fatah comm. charged with investigating corruption. (WP 2/15; NYT, OCHA, PR 2/16; PCHR, PM 2/17)

Fmr. Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri is assassinated in a major car bombing in Beirut; 7 bodyguards, 6 passers-by are also killed, more than 100 are wounded (3 of whom later die). A previously unknown group called Victory and Jihad in Greater Syria claims responsibility. (BBC, al-Hayat, JAZ, MM 2/14; MM, NYT, WP, WT 2/15; Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation, al-Quds, VOI, XIN 2/15, JAZ, QA 2/16, AFP, Le Monde 2/17 in WNC 2/18; MEI 2/18)

The IDF fires shells at a group of Palestinians that enters a closed military zone nr. the Gaza-Egypt border, killing 4 Palestinians, arresting 2 (1 of whom later dies in an Israeli hospital); demolishes a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem; bulldozes several bedouin tents and shacks in Bir Nabala northwest of Jerusalem for construction of the separation wall; raids a PA Health Min. clinic in Bethlehem; fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis; conducts arrest raids in Bayt Rima, Burkin nr. Jenin, Qarawat Bani Zayd. The IDF detains and beats PA presidential candidate Mustafa Barghouthi and his bodyguards at a checkpoint into Jenin, preventing him fr. campaigning in the city; the IDF disputes the account, says Barghouthi refused to show ID, was never hit, was finally allowed to pass when he showed ID. Palestinians fire an antitank rocket into Gaza’s Nisanit settlement, causing no damage or injuries. (AP, PM 12/8; VOI, VOP 12/8 in WNC 12/10; PCHR, WP 12/9; JAZ, VOI, VOP, YA 12/9 in WNC 12/11; NYT 12/10; NYT 12/11; WP 12/12; PR 12/15)

Abbas, Qurai‘ meet with Lebanese pres. Emile Lahoud, PM Omar Karami, parliamentary speaker Nabih Birri in Beirut, marking the 1st visit by the Palestinian leadership to Lebanon since Arafat withdrew to Tunis in 1982. Abbas, Qurai‘ visit Shatila r.c., Sidon, and Rashidiyya r.c. (a Fatah stronghold) where they are greeted by 1,000s of refugees, pledge to uphold the right of return. They do not visit nearby ‘Ayn al-Hilwa r.c. (AFP, WT 12/8; VOP 12/8 in WNC 12/10; AP 12/9; al-Quds, VOP 12/9 in WNC 12/11; NYT 12/13; Daily Star, alNahar, al-Safir 12/13 in WNC 12/16; PR 12/15)

IDF fatally shoots 3 Egyptian border policemen on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border whom they assumed were armed Palestinians attempting to plant a bomb or infiltrate the border; Israeli PM Ariel Sharon immediately phones Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak, issues a public
statement apologizing for the “tragic” accident, vows an investigation. Nonetheless, Egypt postpones to early 12/04 a visit to Israel by Egyptian envoy Omar Sulayman, FM Ahmad Abu al-Ghayt that was set to begin on 11/24. The IDF raids a Birzeit University dorm, detains 4 students, orders them to collect their belongings, handcuffs and blindfolds them, places them in military detention. The IDF also releases Hamas political leader Hassan Yusuf, who has been held in administrative detention for 2 yrs.; Yusuf—a Ramallah resident and one of the 400 Hamas mbrs. deported by Israel to Lebanon in 1990, became Hamas’s senior West Bank political leader in 8/01 andwas arrested during Operation Defensive Shield in 4/02—advocates Hamas participation in all levels of Palestinian elections and is seen as a leading moderate in the movement. An IDF sniper shoots, seriously wounds wanted Hamas mbr. Ghanim al-Hashash as he leaves a Rafah mosque in an apparent attempted assassination. The IDF rescues, arrests 5 Palestinians trapped in a collapsed smuggler’s tunnel on the Rafah-Egypt border; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Bayt Iqsa e. of Jerusalem, Duha nr. Bethlehem, Yatta; fires on residential areas in and nr. Nablus, Rafah. Armed Jewish settlers fr. Dotem settlement ambush, stone Palestinian cars in nearby Tubas. (AP, BBC, MM 11/18; HA, MENA, VOI, VOP 11/18 in WNC 11/20; MM, NYT, WP, WT 11/19; VOI 11/19 in WNC 12/4; HA 11/21; CSM 11/22; PR 11/24; PCHR 11/25; PR 12/22)

The IDF fatally shoots 2 alleged AMB mbrs., both unarmed, who enter a closed military zone in Gaza; sets up 4 new checkpoints on the main road to Qalqilya; fires on residential areas of Rafah; conducts arrest raids in ‘Azun, Khan Yunis. In Hebron, Jewish settlers, Palestinians clash, leaving 3 settlers, 2 Palestinians wounded. Palestinians fire 2 antitank missiles at an IDF patrol nr. Rafah, causing no damage or injuries. (VOI, VOP, YA 1/24 in WNC 1/27; HA, NYT 1/25; PR 1/28; PCHR 1/29)

After 3 yrs. of negotiations via a German mediator, Israel, Hizballah conclude a prisoner swap deal under which Israel will release 401 Palestinian security prisoners, 29 Arab prisoners (including Lebanon’s Shaykh ‘Abd al-Karim Obeid and Mustafa Dirani), the bodies of 59 Lebanese fighters in exchange for captured IDF Col. Elhanan Tennenbaum (res.), the bodies of 3 IDF soldiers. After this 1st phase is completed, Israel, Hizballah will reopen negotiations toward Israel releasing Lebanese prisoner Samir Kantar in exchange for information on downed Israeli pilot Ron Arad. (HA, Israel Television Network 1/24, AFP, MA, MNR, VIRI, VOP, YA 1/25 in WNC 1/27; HA, NYT, WP, WT 1/25; CSM, HA, MM, NYT 1/26; JP 1/27 in WNC 1/29; MM 1/28)

The IDF sends troops into Rafah to search for smugglers’ tunnels, completely demolishes 22 Palestinian homes, a mosque along the Rafah border with Egypt, heavily damages another 16 homes, leaving 400 Palestinians homeless; raids 2 Palestinian charities in Ramallah, confiscating computers, files; fires stun grenades, tear gas into a high school in Nablus; fires on residential areas of Rafah, wounding 3. The IDF also expels a West Bank Palestinian administrative detainee to Gaza; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Askar r.c., Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus, Salfit, Ramallah; bulldozes 5 dunams of land in Bayt Lahia, 2 dunams nr. Kefar Darom; arrests 4 herders nr. Bayt Hanun. IDF soldiers scuffle with Jewish settlers who protest the removal of a synagogue built by supporters of deceased right-wing Rabbi Meir Kahane, the only permanent structure at the unauthorized settlement outpost of West Tapuach; soldiers do not attempt to remove trailer homes at the site. Palestinians fire 3 mortars at a Jewish settlement in Gaza, causing no damage or injuries. (AP, HA, MM, PCHR, PRCS 1/20; NYT, PR, WP 1/21; LAW, MM, PCHR 1/22; JPI 1/30)

Israel retaliates for Hizballah’s 1/19 shelling of an IDF bulldozer inside s. Lebanon by sending warplanes to strike Hizballah targets in s. Lebanon. In Washington, U.S. Secy. of State Colin Powell accuses Hizballah of deliberately taking action to escalate hostilities with Israel. (HA 1/20; LBC, MNR 1/20 in WNC 1/22; NYT, PR, WP, WT 1/21; WJW 1/22; MNR 1/22 in WNC 1/24)

The IDF issues confiscation orders for 700 dunams of Palestinian land (including 10 Palestinian homes) in Dayr al-Balah nr. Kefar Darom settlement; for no apparent reason, fires on Palestinians waiting to go through the Erez crossing, wounding 25; fires on residential areas of Rafah, seriously injuring 1 woman outside her home; fires on, seriously wounds a deaf-mute Palestinian woman who strays too close to the separation wall nr. Qalqilya; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Hebron, Nablus, Qalqilya, Tulkarm. (PCHR 1/20; VOI, VOP, YA 1/20 in WNC 1/22; LAW, PCHR 1/22)

The IDF sends a bulldozer into Lebanese territory to clear mines laid by Hizballah along the de facto border. Hizballah shells the bulldozer when it crosses the demarcation fence into Lebanon, killing 1 IDF soldier, wounding 2. (HA 1/19; LBC, MNR 1/19 in WNC 1/21; HA, MM, NYT, WP, WT 1/20; IDF Radio, MNR 1/20 in WNC 1/22; MM 1/21; IRNA 1/21 in WNC 1/23; MM 1/22, 1/23; NYT 1/29)

The IDF shoots, wounds 4 Palestinians attempting to bypass the new checkpoint separating Rafah, Khan Yunis (see 10/5); continues bulldozing land nr. Morag settlement (Palestinians say some 400 dunams have been leveled since 10/5); demolishes 3 Palestinian homes in Rafah; searches buildings in Jenin (including a medical relief building, Charity Fund Comm. offices), confiscating files, computers; conducts arrest raids in Jenin, detaining 31 alleged Islamic Jihad mbrs. Hamas fires 16 mortars at a Jewish settlement in Gaza, causing no damage or injuries. The PA reports that the IDF, Israeli police have rounded up some 2,350 Palestinian laborers inside the Green Line in the past 24 hrs. for return to the territories. (HA, MM 10/6; HA, MM, NYT, WP, WT 10/7; PCHR 10/9; MEI 10/10)

An IDF soldier nr. the Israeli-Lebanese border is fatally shot by an unidentified gunman apparently shooting fr. Lebanon. (HA, MM 10/6; HA, MM, NYT, WP, WT 10/7; MEI 10/10)

The IDF conducts overnight arrest raids in Qalqilya, targeting the PFLP, exchanging gunfire with some wanted men, leaving 1 Palestinian injured; conducts other arrest raids in Nablus, Tamun; demolishes 1 Palestinian home in Balata r.c.; arrests Hebron’s Shaykh Taysir Tamimi after Friday prayers on charges of incitement. The IDF also releases 73 Palestinian prisoners, including 1 woman, most of whom were convicted of being in Israel illegally. Israel eases restrictions on Bethlehem Palestinians’ entry into Israel, says it will allow 2 colleges in Hebron to reopen. (HA, MM8/15; HA 8/18)

Dahlan accepts Mofaz’s proposal to redeploy fr. Jericho and Qalqilya. Israel agrees to consider redeployment fr. Ramallah, Tulkarm. (HA 8/15; HA, NYT, WP, WT 8/16)

Israeli warplanes fly low-level sorties over Syrian pres. Bashar al-Asad’s summer palace in Latakia, on the Syrian coast, as a warning that he must curb Hizballah actions in Lebanon. (HA 8/17)