15 / 15237 Results
  • February 2, 2012

    Israeli warplanes make 6 late-night air strikes targeting a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border in Yibna r.c. (causing no injuries); a home in Rafah (phoning the family 5 mins. in advance to warn...

    Read more
  • March 11, 2009

    Palestinians fire 2 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Hamas denounces the fire, saying it comes at the wrong time as truce talks in Cairo are ongoing. Israeli naval...

    Read more
  • January 15, 2009

    The 20th day of OCL is marked by serious diplomatic steps toward a cease-fire but also by Israel’s heaviest attacks on Gaza since operations began. Israel’s envoy receives the Egyptian-Hamas cease...

    Read more
  • January 14, 2009

    Egypt announces that Gaza- and Damascus-based Hamas officials have agreed on a cease-fire offer to be present to Israel (see Quarterly Update). Israel agrees to send an envoy to Cairo on 1/15 to...

    Read more
  • January 12, 2009

    Olmert’s security cabinet revives discussion of opening phase 3 of OCL (see 1/9), agreeing to make a final decision whether to expand or wind down operations within 2–3 days, by which time the IDF...

    Read more
  • January 11, 2009

    The IDF launches its deepest ground incursions into Gaza City since OCL began, conducting a 2-front assault from the north and the south; troops pull back to the outskirts of Gaza City by...

    Read more
  • January 6, 2009

    Sarkozy and Mubarak, with U.S. support, jointly call for an immediate ceasefire followed by talks on Israel’s siege and Palestinian smuggling.

    Combat notes: IDF ground forces expand...

    Read more
  • January 5, 2009

    As OCL enters day 10, IDF ground forces tighten the circle around Gaza City and continue to operate against Palestinian rocketlaunching units across n. Gaza, still avoiding entering densely...

    Read more
  • July 15, 2004

    The IDF assassinates wanted senior Hamas mbr. Malik al-Din, fatally shooting him as he emerges fr. his Hebron home to surrender; tightens restrictions on Palestinians traveling the Tulkarm–Nablus...

    Read more
  • May 21, 2002

    The IDF shells residential areas of Yibna r.c., killing 1 Palestinian, wounding 4, damaging several houses; demolishes 3 Palestinian homes in Bayt Hanina in East Jerusalem; conducts arrest raids...

    Read more
  • September 29, 2001

    Palestinians across the West Bank, Gaza continue demonstrations to mark the 1st anniversary of the al-Aqsa intifada. The IDF clashes with protesters, killing 3 Palestinians, wounding more than 100...

    Read more
  • July 8, 2001

    Israeli-Palestinian violence continues. The IDF says that overnight Palestinians threw 60 grenades at an IDF post in Rafah, where a Palestinian boy was killed on 7/7, but caused no damage....

    Read more
  • July 4, 2001

    The IDF tightens closures throughout the West Bank; directs shells, heavy machine gun fire at residential areas of Rafah, at a PSF post outside Qalqilya; demolish 5 Palestinian homes in Bayt...

    Read more
  • July 3, 2001

    A Jewish settler is found murdered nr. Hebron. The IDF retaliates by sealing the neighboring villages of Yatta and Yibna, and bulldozing homes, cave dwellings, 10s of other structures, wells,...

    Read more
  • July 16, 1992

    Israeli govt. declares 1-week freeze on signing contracts for govt.-subsidized housing, including those affecting construction i the o.t. Freeze also is called on planning and early proceedings of...

    Read more

Israeli warplanes make 6 late-night air strikes targeting a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border in Yibna r.c. (causing no injuries); a home in Rafah (phoning the family 5 mins. in advance to warn them to leave); an open area nr. Khan Yunis (no injuries); a storage building in Nussayrat r.c. (no injuries); and a grocery store in Bayt Lahiya (damaging 13 nearby buildings; lightly injuring 3 bystanders, including 2 children). Israeli drones make air strikes on 2 Palestinian homes in Jabaliya (lightly injuring 1 Palestinian; damaging 8 homes, an elementary school nearby). In the West Bank, the IDF bulldozes 30 d. of Palestinian land in Jayyus village n. of Qalqilya, in an area where Jewish settlers have previously attempted to place mobile homes to expand Tzofim settlement; patrols in 6 villages nr. Ramallah and 2 villages nr. Qalqilya in the morning; and in Tulkarm and 3 nearby villages, and 1 village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon. The IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Qalqilya. (JP 2/3; PCHR 2/9; OCHA 2/10)

UN Secy.-Gen Ban makes a brief visit to Gaza to inaugurate a UN-funded housing project. Relatives of Palestinians jailed in Israel try to block his entry to the Erez crossing to protest his refusal to meet with them. During the visit, Ban calls on Israel to maintain the cease-fire with Gaza and allow Gaza’s borders to open for trade. Later, he addresses the Herzliya conference, telling Israeli officials and analysts to “think carefully about how to empower those on the other side who wish for peace.” (WP, WT 2/3)

Palestinians fire 2 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Hamas denounces the fire, saying it comes at the wrong time as truce talks in Cairo are ongoing. Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the Rafah coast, forcing them to return to shore. Late in the evening, the IDF makes 2 air strikes on Yibna r.c. nr. the Rafah border, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts morning patrols in Tulkarm; opens fire on 2 Palestinian teenagers throwing stones at Jewish settler vehicles nr. Ramallah, wounding 1, arresting the other; maintains the curfew on, continues occupying and searching homes in Bayt Umar (see 3/10) until withdrawing in the afternoon, making no arrests; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in villages around Jenin, in and around Ramallah, and in Bethlehem. (PCHR 3/12; WT 3/13; OCHA 3/17, 3/18; PCHR 3/19)

The 20th day of OCL is marked by serious diplomatic steps toward a cease-fire but also by Israel’s heaviest attacks on Gaza since operations began. Israel’s envoy receives the Egyptian-Hamas cease-fire offer in Cairo, returns to Israel to brief the security cabinet. Olmert dispatches Livni to Washington to finalize a bilateral “memorandum of understanding” (MOU) regarding U.S.-led international efforts to halt arms smuggling into Gaza.

Combat notes: The IDF sharply escalates air, naval, and ground attacks across Gaza. IDF ground forces push deep into Gaza City under cover of air strikes and heavy tank and artillery fire. Residents report almost constant air, naval, artillery bombardment from 1:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. local time, and particularly heavy ground engagements in al-Atatra n. of the city and Tal al-Hawa neighborhood on the southern outskirts, as well as in Jabaliya r.c. Thousands of Gaza City residents attempt to flee the fighting, but many cannot leave their homes because of the intensity of Israeli fire. During the operations, Israeli troops surround the home of Hamas’s Mahmud Zahhar (in hiding), killing his security guards. Gaza City fighting eases slightly in the afternoon, but IDF troops remain in the city overnight. The IDF also takes up new positions in Bayt Hanun’s alFarta and al-Nazzaza quarters under cover of heavy shelling and gunfire, ordering residents of the 2 areas (some 20 families) to evacuate.

The IDF reports carrying out more than 80 air strikes today, hitting at least 23 rocket and mortar launching sites, 19 groups of armed Palestinians, 6 suspected weapons depots (including 2 mosques in Gaza City, 1 in Rafah), 4 tunnels, 1 radio station in Gaza City. Air strike target areas include al-Atatra, Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (al-Rimal, al-Sabra, Tal al-Hawa, al-Yarmuk), Jabaliya, Khan Yunis, al-Maghazi r.c., Nussayrat r.c., Rafah, Yibna r.c. Heavy tank and artillery fire are reported in Abasan, Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (al-Sabra, Tal al-Hawa, al-Tuffah), Jabaliya, Khuza, al-Mughraqa, al-Nasser (n. of Rafah), Nussayrat r.c., al-Qarara, Rafah. UNRWA reports 100s of Palestinians fleeing areas of northeastern Rafah to escape heavy bombardments. Reports of Israel using white phosphorous munitions spike sharply, with confirmed use in 3 areas (Abasan, Khuza, al-Qarara) and suspected use in 5 areas (Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Khan Yunis, Nussayrat r.c.). Israeli naval bombardment concentrates on Khan Yunis and the neighboring al-Mahatin area. Closecombat fighting is reported around Jabaliya r.c.

In a major air strike on Jabaliya, the IDF assassinates Gaza’s acting Interior M Said Siyam in his brother’s home, along with his brother and nephew, Hamas internal security head for Gaza Salah Abu Sharah, 4 Palestinians in an adjacent home. In addition, IDF air strikes hit buildings in Gaza City housing UNRWA’s main food depot (3 white phosphorous missiles incinerate tons of food and medicine brought in during the humanitarian lulls); Palestinian Red Crescent Society offices and the adjacent al-Quds Hospital (both hit repeatedly over a 5-hr. period; the patient wing of the hospital is not targeted); and the shared media offices of Abu Dhabi TV, al-Arabiyya TV, Reuters, and the Russian TV channel Rusiya al-Yaum, causing serious damage and injuring 2 journalists. A number of other hospitals in Gaza City are damaged by Israeli mortar fire. Palestinian medical workers say the Palestinian toll is at least 1,090 dead (including 375 children, 150 women, 14 medical workers), more than 5,000 wounded.

Palestinians fire 15 rockets and 8 mortars into Israel, seriously injuring a 7-yr.-old Israeli boy in Beersheba and causing significant damage in 2 instances (both by Qassams in Sederot); at least 3 of the rockets are Grads (2 in and nr. Beersheba, 1 in Gadera).

The Palestinian toll is estimated to be at least 1,090 dead, more than 5,000 wounded.

Humanitarian notes: With diplomacy toward a cease-fire showing progress, Israel extends the daily humanitarian lull to 4 hrs./day, allowing in up to 170 truckloads of humanitarian aid; permits the Qarni crossing conveyor belt to resume operation for the 1st time since 12/27 for the import of grain. Israel also allows the ICRC and Palestinian Energy Authority to begin repairs to part of Gaza’s electricity network. (AFP, AP, HA, IDF, IFM, IHY, MM, RFM, UNOSAT, YA 1/15; HA, IDF Radio, JP, MA, MM, NYT, REU, Scotsman, WP, WT, XIN, YA 1/16; IFM, NYT, XIN 1/17; ITIC 1/19; PCHR 1/22, 1/29)

Citing unspecified security concerns, the IDF imposes a total closure on the West Bank through 1/17. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus. Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar attempt to close a road nr. Nablus to Palestinian traffic, stone Palestinian cars; the IDF forces them to leave. (IDF 1/15; PCHR 1/22)

Egypt announces that Gaza- and Damascus-based Hamas officials have agreed on a cease-fire offer to be present to Israel (see Quarterly Update). Israel agrees to send an envoy to Cairo on 1/15 to be briefed on the plan. Meanwhile, Israel’s intense air, naval, and ground assaults on Gaza continue.

Combat notes: Under cover of air strikes and heavy shelling, IDF troops take up new positions in s. Gaza’s al-Fukhari area nr. the Sufa crossing (occupying several homes and expelling the residents) and al-Shuka village; Israeli fire is so intense that rescuers cannot reach the wounded or retrieve the dead. The IDF reports carrying out approximately 120 air strikes today (70 of them after nightfall) that kill 10s of Palestinians. Targets include at least 24 groups of armed Palestinians, 16 smuggling tunnels, at least 10 suspected weapons depots (including a Rafah mosque), and 24 rocket launching sites (killing senior IQB cmdrs. Walid Za‘abud and Muhammad Dash nr. al-Zaytun). Air strike target areas include Bani Suhayla, Bayt Lahiya, Gaza City (areas northwest of the city and al-Nasser, al-Sabra, al-Sha‘af, Shaykh Ridwan, al-Shuja‘iyya, Tal al-Hawa, al-Yarmuk, al-Zaytun), Khan Yunis, Khuza, al-Mughraqa, Nussayrat r.c., al-Qarara, Rafah, al-Shabura r.c., Twam, Yibna r.c. Heavy artillery and tank fire are reported in and around Bayt Lahiya (white phosphorous suspected), al-Bureij r.c., Gaza City (al-Sabra, al-Tuffah), Jabaliya town and r.c. Naval bombardment centers on Rafah’s Tal al-Sultan neighborhood.

Palestinians fire 14 rockets and 2 mortars, including 4 Grads (2 each in Ashdod and Beersheba), into Israel, causing no injuries. Gaza medical workers put the estimated Palestinian toll at 1,018 dead (including an estimated 300 children), 4,700 injured. The IDF reports 27 soldiers wounded (1 severely, 2 moderately, 24 lightly), mostly in ground fighting with Palestinians n. Gaza, including 7 soldiers wounded (1 severely, 1 moderately, 5 lightly) by a Palestinian antitank missile. The Israeli toll stands at 13–14 dead, more than 150 wounded.

Humanitarian notes: The IDF allows at least 108 truckloads of humanitarian aid into Gaza during the lull. A group of Israeli human rights groups (including Amnesty International–Israel, B’Tselem Gisha, Physicians for Human Rights–Israel) characterize Israel’s restrictions on aid and access to Gaza by relief groups and medial workers as a “blatant violation of the laws of warfare and raises the suspicion, which we ask be investigated, of the commission of war crimes.” (AP, BBC, CBS News, HA, IDF, IFM, JAZ, MM, QA, REU, RFM, XIN 1/14; AYM, HA, IDF, IFM, IHY, JAZ, MA, MM, NYT, PCHR, WP, WT, YA 1/15; ITIC 1/19; PCHR 1/22, 1/29)

The IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron and Jenin, in Bayt Sahur, and nr. Nablus. (PCHR 1/22)

Unidentified assailants fire 3 rockets fr. s. Lebanon into n. Israel. (Up to a dozen rockets total may have been fired, with others landing inside Lebanon). The IDF returns fire. No damage or injuries are reported. (MM, MNR 1/14; WP 1/15)

Olmert’s security cabinet revives discussion of opening phase 3 of OCL (see 1/9), agreeing to make a final decision whether to expand or wind down operations within 2–3 days, by which time the IDF believes ground forces will have done all they can from the open and suburban areas they currently hold to weaken Hamas’s ability and desire to fire rockets.

Combat notes: The IDF significantly increases attacks, particularly around Gaza City, and continues to send troops into Gaza. Palestinians report (AYM 1/12) heavy clashes with the IDF n. of Bayt Lahiya, in Daraj and al-Shuja‘iyya neighborhoods on the eastern boundary of Gaza City, and in Dahadih and al-Zaytun to the south of the city. Overnight, the IDF also sends troops back into Khuza (see 1/11) under heavy artillery fire (possibly including white phosphorous), occupying a number of homes as staging posts and prompting 1,000s of residents to flee their homes.

The IDF reports carrying out more than 120 air strikes (half of them after nightfall, targeting Gaza City), uncovering 1 boobytrapped home and 2 booby-trapped tunnels. Targets include the PA Interior Min. offices in n. Gaza, more than 35 tunnels on the Rafah border, homes of Hamas leaders, at least 22 mortar and rocket launching sites, at least 26 groups of armed men, at least 10 “Hamas outposts,” 2 suspected weapons depots and manufacturing facilities, 2 mosques, 2 hotels. Air strike target areas include Bayt Lahiya, Gaza City (city center and Shaykh Ridwan, al-Sudaniyya, Tal al-Hawa, al-Zaytun), Jabaliya town, al-Maghazi r.c., Nussayrat, Rafah, al-Shabura r.c., al-Shuka, Tal al-Za‘atar, the Twam area (northern outskirts of Gaza City), Yibna r.c. IDF gunboats shell Nussayrat, Rafah, a fishing port w. of Rafah. Heavy tank and artillery fire are reported in Bayt Hanun, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (al-Shuja‘iyya, al-Zaytun), Jabaliya town, al-Mughraqa, Twam.

Israeli attacks are so intense that reliable updates on Palestinian casualty estimates are not possible. The IDF estimates killing at least 30 Palestinians in air strikes. UNRWA reports at least 19 Palestinian children killed and 52 children injured in nighttime operations (possibly overlapping with air strikes), 1 paramedic killed by tank fire in Jabaliya during the day. The IDF reports 8 soldiers wounded (1 severely, 1 moderately, 6 lightly) in various incidents, all after nightfall; 3 of the soldiers are injured when they trigger a setup in a booby-trapped house.

Palestinians fire 17 rockets and 7 mortars into Israel, with 1 rocket in Ashqelon and 1 in Sederot causing damage but no reported injuries.

Humanitarian notes: The IDF observes the daily 3-hr. humanitarian lull, allowing 120 trucks carrying humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. UNRWA estimates that internally displaced Gazans number now 90,000: 30,000 seeking shelter in UNRWA schools; 60,000 in the homes of friends and relatives. (AP, AYM, BBC, HA, IDF, IFM, JP, MA, MM, al-Ra’i, REU, RFM, WP, YA 1/12; HA, MM, NYT, REU, WP, WT, YA 1/13; AYM, HA, MM, NYT, WP, WT 1/14; PCHR 1/15; BBC, WJW 1/16; ITIC 1/19)

In the West Bank, unidentified armed Palestinians fire on an IDF patrol nr. Kiryat Arba settlement, wounding 3. In response, the IDF raids, searches Palestinian homes nr. Kiryat Arba, making no arrests. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron. (HA 1/13; PCHR 1/15)

The IDF launches its deepest ground incursions into Gaza City since OCL began, conducting a 2-front assault from the north and the south; troops pull back to the outskirts of Gaza City by nightfall. To accommodate expanded operations, the IDF commits its first significant influx of reservists into Gaza, numbering in the 1,000s, using them to hold IDF positions, freeing up regular combat troops to thrust deeper into Gaza City.

Combat notes: The intensified IDF assault on Gaza City begins before dawn, with tanks and troops based in the fmr. Netzarim settlement advancing fr. the southwest, supported by helicopter gunships and F16s, resulting in some of the heaviest fighting since OCL began, especially in Shaykh Ajlin. Simultaneously, the IDF steps up attacks on the northern outskirts of the city. The IDF reports (IDF 1/11) finding 10s of booby-trapped houses, buildings, and tunnels, accusing Hamas of booby-trapping 30 homes in one neighborhood (location not given). Ground forces also move into Khuza in s. Gaza under heavy artillery fire, bulldozing several homes and razing tracts of agricultural land before withdrawing late in the evening.

The IDF reports hitting nearly 70 targets across Gaza today and making more than 40 air strikes. Targets hit include 23 smuggling tunnels (including 2 located under the homes of Hamas mbrs.), at least 15 “armed cells,” 11 suspected weapons depots, several rocket-launching sites. Air strike target areas include Bani Suhayla, Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, Gaza City (Shaykh Ridwan), Khan Yunis, al-Maghazi, al-Mughraqa, Nussayrat, Rafah, al-Shabura r.c., Yibna r.c., al-Zawayda (c. Gaza). Heavy tank and artillery fire is reported in Bayt Hanun (white phosphorus use confirmed by Amnesty International), Gaza City (al-Shuja‘iyya, Tal al-Hawa, al-Zaytun), Jabaliya, Khuza, Khan Yunis (possibly involving white phosphorous).

Palestinians fire 20 rockets and 8 mortars into Israel, including at least 1 Grad that hits an empty kindergarten in Ashdod (damage but no injuries) and 2 rockets that hit Beersheba (some light injuries). The IDF reports sustaining no casualties but killing around 45 armed Palestinians, bringing the estimated Palestinian toll to at least 876 dead, 3,600 wounded.

Humanitarian notes: The IDF observes the daily 3-hr. humanitarian lull but does not release figures on the number of trucks permitted entry.

Of note: Today’s IDF air strikes on tunnels along the Rafah border damage 10 homes in Egyptian Rafah, seriously wound 2 Egyptian border policemen and lightly wound 1 border policeman, 2 Egyptian children (ages 2 and 5). Egyptian security officials say that the Israeli drones and planes have violated Egyptian air space daily since OCL began and that previous Israeli air strikes during OCL have damaged buildings and 1 mosque, shattered windows, and caused power shortages inside Egypt. (AFP, HA, IDF, WP 1/11; IDF, MM, NYT, WP, WT 1/12; WT 1/13; PCHR 1/15; ITIC 1/19; MM, QA 1/22)

The IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Bayt Umar and Sa’ir, both nr. Hebron. (PCHR 1/15)

Sarkozy and Mubarak, with U.S. support, jointly call for an immediate ceasefire followed by talks on Israel’s siege and Palestinian smuggling.

Combat notes: IDF ground forces expand operations in s. Gaza overnight, surrounding Khan Yunis (taking up positions in Abasan and al-Qarara, where heavy artillery fire is reported). Fighting intensifies in and around Gaza City, with the IDF tightening its cordon around the city and making forays into built-up areas for the first time. Heavy exchanges are also reported on the edges of the Dayr al-Balah and al-Bureij r.c.s in c. Gaza. IDF air and naval bombardments continue, with the IDF reporting strikes on 40 targets, including 8 smuggling tunnels, more than 10 groups of gunmen, 16 suspected weapons storage and production facilities, 5 rocketlaunching sites. Target areas include Abasan, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (al-Rimal, al-Tuffah, al-Zaytun), Jabaliya r.c., Juhur al-Dik, Khan Yunis, al-Maghazi, Nussayrat, al-Qarara, Rafah, Shati’ r.c., Yibna r.c. One IDF air strike targets the home of Hamas’s chief rocket engineer Imad Siyam; Israel claims he is assassinated, but there is no independent confirmation.

In the single deadliest attack since OCL began, a mortar attack by IDF ground forces in Jabaliya hits outside at an UNRWA school being used as a shelter, killing 42 Palestinians and wounding around 55 civilians (15 critically; 1 of whom dies on 1/12, bringing the comprehensive toll in this attack to 43). The dead include 2 wanted Hamas mbrs. passing through the area and 40 civilians in and around the school, including 16 children (most of whom were lined up outside the building as UN workers registered their entry). Another IDF airstrike on a residential area of al-Bureij r.c. injures 7 UN workers at a medical clinic.

Palestinians fire 30 rockets and 5 mortars into Israel, including 1 Grad rocket that lands in Gadera, 28 mi. n. of Gaza, lightly injuring a 3-mo.-old Israeli child and marking the farthest rocket strike to date.

At least 85 Palestinians are killed during the day, bringing the toll to around 640 Palestinians killed, 2,900 injured; 1 IDF soldier is killed, 9 are wounded in clashes with Palestinians, bringing the Israeli toll to 10–11 dead.

Humanitarian notes: Israel says it will open “humanitarian corridors” into Gaza beginning 1/7 to prevent a humanitarian crisis, halting attacks for 3 hrs. every other day (in practice, they occur daily) in predetermined areas where Palestinians could receive needed food and supplies. Save the Children warns that Gazan children are at particular risk for hypothermia because there is no electricity or fuel to provide heat in the freezing cold, and many families are keeping windows open to prevent injuries if they shatter during Israeli bombing raids. (AP, AYM, BBC, Dept. of State press release, HA, IFM, ITV, JAZ, REU, WP 1/6; AYM, Hurriyet, JAZ, MM, NYT, QA, RFM, RIA, WP, WT 1/7; IFM, MM, NYT, PCHR, QA, WJW, WP 1/8; MM, YA 1/9; NYT 1/11, 1/12; JP 1/14; NYT 1/17; HA 1/21; WP 2/7)

As OCL enters day 10, IDF ground forces tighten the circle around Gaza City and continue to operate against Palestinian rocketlaunching units across n. Gaza, still avoiding entering densely populated areas. Troops deploy to segment the Strip into 3 main operational zones: a northern zone running fr. the n. Gaza border south to Netzarim Junction (the Qarni Crossing–Netzarim settlement line drawn on 1/4); a central zone fr. Netzarim Junction to Khan Yunis; and a southern zone fr. Khan Yunis to the Rafah border. While IDF troops are still entering Gaza, IDF reservists have not yet been sent in.

Meanwhile, French pres. Nicholas Sarkozy begins a regional tour to press for a 48-hr. humanitarian cease-fire, meeting with Mubarak in Cairo and Olmert in Israel).

Combat notes: In Gaza City, residents and medical workers report that IDF troops are concentrated in the al-Shuja‘iyya, al-Tuffah, and al-Zaytun neighborhoods (al-Zaytun is a strategic high point, providing a view over the breadth of the Strip) and that fighting is so intense (involving heavy Israeli tank and helicopter fire) that bodies of the dead have been left lying in the street and ambulances are unable to reach the area. IDF troops occupy at least 3 high-rise buildings in eastern areas of Gaza City as observation posts, expelling the residents and exchanging heavy gunfire with Palestinian gunmen. Israeli aircraft drop leaflets over Gaza City warning residents to evacuate their neighborhood; 1,000s of Gazans report receiving automated phone messages form the IDF saying “We are getting rid of Hamas.”

In addition to carrying out air strikes in support of advancing ground troops, the IDF reports making 40 air strikes targeting tunnels on the Rafah border, weapons caches, homes of senior Hamas and PFLP mbrs. (most of whom are in hiding), the Gaza airport site. Target areas include Abasan, Bayt Hanun, Bani Suhayla, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (the center city, al-Tuffah, al-Shuja‘iyya, Tal al-Hawa, alZaytun), Jabaliya, Khan Yunis, Khuza, the al-Mawasi area (w. of Khan Yunis), Nussayrat, Rafah, al-Shabura r.c. (nr. Rafah), Shati’ r.c., al-Shuka, Yibna r.c. (nr. Rafah).

Of particular note: A home in Gaza City’s al-Zaytun neighborhood, where the IDF placed 110 Palestinians it had rounded up on 1/4, is hit by an air strike and repeatedly shelled, killing at least 30 mbrs. of an extended family (including 5 children age 4 and younger) and wounding scores; the IDF bars relief workers fr. reaching the scene until 1/7. A shell fired from an Israeli naval vessel hits a Palestinian home in Shati’ r.c., killing a family of 7 asleep in their beds. A late-night air strike hits an UNRWA school in Shati’ r.c. being used as a shelter, killing 3 members of a single family. The IDF also makes air strikes hitting the offices of the Hamas-affiliated al-Risala for a 2d time (see 1/3). Photographs and live footage of the ongoing operations clearly show IDF artillery firing white phosphorus shells on densely populated areas, though Israel denies using the munitions. The IDF fires flechette shells on residential areas nr. Bayt Hanun, killing at least 1 Palestinian, wounding at least 3.

Palestinians fire 28 rockets, 5 mortars into Israel, hitting Ashdod, Ashqelon, Beersheba, Sederot, and Shaar Hanegev, damaging an empty kindergarten in Ashdod, injuring 2 Israelis in Shaar Hanegev.

More than 40 Palestinians are killed today (almost half of them children), bringing the estimated Palestinian toll to 550 dead, 2,500 injured. The Israeli toll reaches 9–10 dead, more than 70 wounded: 3 IDF soldiers are killed, 24 wounded (4 seriously) by friendly fire when their unit is hit by an Israeli tank shell outside Gaza City; an IDF officer is killed during an exchange of fire in n. Gaza, possibly by an IDF tank shell; 6 IDF soldiers are wounded in clashes with Palestinians nr. the e. Gaza border.

Humanitarian notes: Israel allows 80 truckloads of food, medicine, and medical equipment into Gaza, but the UN says much more is needed. Relief agencies (including the ICRC, UNRWA, and UNSCO) warn that two-thirds of the Strip is still without power, suffering freezing winter temperatures; 250,000 Gazans are without any running water; and water supplies for another 500,000 Gazans are expected to run out within days because of lack of fuel for pumps and backup generators. Shifa hospital, which has been running fully on generators for 3 days, warns that it has only a 2-day supply of generator fuel. (BBC, CNN, IDF, IDF Radio, MM, NYT, REU, RFM, UNIS, UNOSAT, WT 1/5; AFP, BBC, Guardian, HA, IDF, IFM, Israel Radio News, MA, MM, NYT, WP, WT, YA 1/6; IFM, PCHR, WJW, WT 1/8; Committee to Protect Journalists, MM, YA 1/9; NYT, WP 1/10; NYT 1/17; WP 1/27; BBC 2/23)

The IDF arrests 2 12-yr.-old Palestinians at an OCL protest nr. Hebron; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem and in al-Bireh, Ramallah. Clubwielding PASF officers violently disperse a protest against OCL by students attempting to march fr. Ramallah’s Birzeit University to a main IDF checkpoint at Atarot. (PCHR 1/8)

The IDF assassinates wanted senior Hamas mbr. Malik al-Din, fatally shooting him as he emerges fr. his Hebron home to surrender; tightens restrictions on Palestinians traveling the Tulkarm–Nablus road nr. Einav settlement; demolishes a Palestinian home in Khan Yunis, fires on residential areas of Jenin, Tulkarm r.c., Rafah, Yibna nr. Hebron; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Bayt ‘Awa nr. Hebron. Bethlehem, al-Bireh, Dahaysha r.c., Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Tulkarm, Yatta. (MA 7/15; MA, VOI, VOP 7/15, VOP 7/16 in WNC 7/21; PR 7/21; PCHR 7/22)

The IDF shells residential areas of Yibna r.c., killing 1 Palestinian, wounding 4, damaging several houses; demolishes 3 Palestinian homes in Bayt Hanina in East Jerusalem; conducts arrest raids in Bayt Rima nr. Ramallah. (LAW 5/21; LAW, PCHR, WP 5/22)

Palestinians across the West Bank, Gaza continue demonstrations to mark the 1st anniversary of the al-Aqsa intifada. The IDF clashes with protesters, killing 3 Palestinians, wounding more than 100. A 4th Palestinian dies of injuries received earlier. The main hot spots are Hebron, Qarni crossing, Rafah. Inside Israel, 1,000s of Israeli Arabs hold rallies in Arraba, Haifa, Jit, Kafr Manda, Kafr Qana, Nazareth, Sakhnin, Umm al-Fahm; demonstrations in Nazareth, Umm al-Fahm turn violent with protesters clashing with police, vandalizing stores, but no injuries are reported. The IDF directs shell, heavy machine gun fire at residential areas of al-Bireh, Brazil camp, Hebron, Khan Yunis, Yibna; sets fire to a Palestinian orchard nr. a bypass road outside Nablus; conducts arrest raids in Nablus, Ramallah. Jewish settlers install a tower, water reserve, electricity hook-up to a new settlement enclave btwn. Suisa, Ma'on settlements. (HP 9/29; NYT, WP, WT 9/30; al-Quds 9/30 in WNC 10/9; MM, WT 10/1; Independent, NYT 10/2; WJW 10/4; LAW 10/10)

Israel, the PA each complain that the other has not undertaken the steps required in the initial 48 hr. stage of the Tenet plan. Sharon meets with his inner cabinet, which agrees to allow Peres to continue truce talks with PA officials, but says it will resume "initiated actions" in 48 hrs. if violence continues. (HP 9/29; NYT, WP, WT 9/30; al-Quds 9/30 in WNC 10/9; MM, WT 10/1; Independent, NYT 10/2; WJW 10/4; LAW 10/10)

Israeli-Palestinian violence continues. The IDF says that overnight Palestinians threw 60 grenades at an IDF post in Rafah, where a Palestinian boy was killed on 7/7, but caused no damage. Following the boy's funeral today, Palestinians fire on the same IDF post, causing no injuries. Undercover IDF units kidnap senior Hamas mbr. Ayoub Sharawi, wanted by Israel for allegedly "dispatching terrorist cells," fr. Hebron. The IDF also directs machine gun fire at residential areas of Khan Yunis (injuring 2), Yibna; occupies 2 Palestinian homes in Nabi Salah as a military post, evicting residents and injuring 12, including 1 Palestinian woman who suffers a miscarriage; bulldozes 40 dunams Palestinian land nr. Netzarim settlement; sets fire to an olive grove along the Zawata-Bayt Ibia road; fires on a Force-17 post in Hebron. Palestinians detonate a roadside bomb nr. an IDF vehicle outside Hebron, injuring at least 1 soldier; fire on a Jewish settler bus nr. Ramallah, injuring 1 settler. Jewish settlers vandalize Palestinian property, severely beat 3 Palestinians in Hebron; vandalize Palestinian homes, cars in al-Sahla; bulldoze land, set fire to cattle pens, damage water wells in al-Musafir. 2 Palestinians are shot, wounded by snipers nr. Abraham Avino settlement in Hebron. The PA sentences Tahir Walid Jabir to life in prison with hard labor for collaborating with Israel. (PMC 7/8; HA, HP, NYT, PMC, WT 7/9; NYT 7/10; MEI 7/13)

After an Israeli cabinet mtg. on the security situation, DM Ben-Eliezer says Israel will ease its "policy of restraint," gauge its response to "terrorist attacks in terms of their potential to do violence, and not their results." The cabinet reportedly approves IDF Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz's revisions to the IDF's 6/2 assault plan, entitled "The Destruction of the Palestinian Authority and Disarmament of All Armed Forces," which he recommends be implemented after the next big suicide bombing inside Israel that causes heavy casualties. (HA 7/8; MM 7/11; AFP [Internet], CBS News [Internet] 7/12; HA, WP 7/13; REU 7/14; WP 7/16; AN 7/16 in WNC 7/17)

With Sharon's permission, Peres meets with Palestinian Council (PC) speaker Ahmad Qurai` to discuss the cease-fire. (NYT 7/12; MA 7/17 in WNC 7/18; MM 7/19)

The IDF tightens closures throughout the West Bank; directs shells, heavy machine gun fire at residential areas of Rafah, at a PSF post outside Qalqilya; demolish 5 Palestinian homes in Bayt Hanina; establishes new checkpoints outside Qalqilya, Tulkarm; continues demolitions in Yibna (see 7/3), destroying an unknown number of homes, farming structures, cisterns. Palestinian gunmen fire on 2 vehicles driving along the Israeli border nr. Tulkarm, killing 1 Israeli civilian; 1 Palestinian dies of injuries received earlier. (HP 7/4; LAW 7/9)

Israel's security cabinet selects 26 Palestinians as prime targets for assassination. The UN, the U.S. reiterate their opposition. The PA says Israel is essentially renouncing the U.S. cease-fire arrangement. As the cabinet mtg. takes place, plainclothes gunmen shoot, wound senior Fatah mbr. Hazim Natshe, on Israel's most wanted list, in an apparent assassination attempt in Hebron. (HA 7/4; AYM, DUS, MA, QA 7/4, MA, MENA 7/5 in WNC 7/7; AP, NYT, WT 7/5; AP 7/6; MEI 7/13; MM 7/18; MA 7/18 in WNC 7/19)

A Jewish settler is found murdered nr. Hebron. The IDF retaliates by sealing the neighboring villages of Yatta and Yibna, and bulldozing homes, cave dwellings, 10s of other structures, wells, olive groves, leaving at least 500 Palestinians homeless. The IDF also bulldozes 30 Palestinian stalls at a market outside Jinin, where a settler was killed on 7/1; orders 4 Palestinian families to evacuate an area in Sawisa, nr. Hebron, then demolishes their tents. This evening, 1,000s of Jewish settlers rally in Tel Aviv to protest the "inadequate" security provided by the Israeli government. After dark, Palestinians toss homemade grenades at an IDF post in Rafah, causing no injuries. (Gush Shalom press release, al-Haq press release, MM 7/3; HP, NYT, WT 7/4; AFP [Internet] 7/5; HA 7/12; MEI 7/13)

Sharon meets with senior cabinet mbrs. to discuss contingency plans should the cease-fire collapse completely. He secures their authorization to step up assassinations. The State Dept. repeats its opposition. (MM, NYT, WP, WT 7/4; JT 7/4 in WNC 7/7; NYT 7/5)

Israeli govt. declares 1-week freeze on signing contracts for govt.-subsidized housing, including those affecting construction i the o.t. Freeze also is called on planning and early proceedings of new roads in o.t. About 3,000 units in early stages in o.t. are affected by the freeze, and govt. is still unsure about what to do with 4,000 completed units unattached to infrastructure, 12,000 in various stages of construction, and about 500 completed units that have been populated in the o.t. About 60% of these 16,500 scheduled units are in "political settlements." Financial incentives encouraging settlement will be ended. (Qol Yisra'el, HaAretz 7/16 in FBIS 7/16; MM, NYT, WP 7/17)

The Jerusalem Report states that 100 of the 142 settlements in the o.t. are "political settlements" according to PM Rabin, and can therefore expect significant cuts in govt. aid. These include all 16 settlements inthe Gaza Strip, as well as large W. Bank settlements of Qedumim, Elqana, and possibly Ariel. (Likud MK and Ariel mayor Ron Nahman claims freeze will have "opposite result" in his settlement, plans to increase its pop. from 11,000 to 20,000 in a year.) (Al Hamishmar 7/16 in FBIS 7/16; HaAretz 7/17 in MM 7/17)

Fateh gunman shoots, wounds 3 unarmed Hamas supporters in Rafah, Gaza. Hamas gunmen shoot, wound 1 unarmed Fateh supporter. Some 1,000 Fateh supporters then raid mosque in Yibna camp, Hamas gunmen inside open fire, wound 8. IDF troops impose curfew on Yibna. Two-week total for Fateh-Hamas violence is 1 dead, about 150 wounded. (MM, WP 7/17)

Palestinians throughout o.t. stage commercial strike called for by PLO-backed UNLU to protest seige at al-Najah University. Palestinian-Israeli leaders including all 6 MKs meet to discuss strategy, form delegation to meet with PM Rabin concerning al-Najah. Some 250 prominent Palestinians begin hunger strike in Nablus to protest siege. (MM 7/16, 17; Qol Yisra'el 7/16 in FBIS 7/17)

U.S. State Dept. calls for "restraint" from Israel in its handling of situation at al-Najah University, Nablus. IDF soldiers continue to surround campus, searching all students who leave; students refuse to leave until army withdraws. (WP 7/17)

Faisal Husseini announces Israeli defense establishment proposal to deport wanted men in al-Najah University for 3 years as step to lifting siege; Palestinians are drafting counter-proposal, and have sent a letter to PM Rabin to lift siege and curfew of Nablus. (Qol Yisra'el 7/16 in FBIS 7/17)

PLO representative calls on UN Secy. Gen. Butrus Ghali to provide int'l. protection for Palestinians in o.t., implementation of res. 681 to deal with siege at al-Najah University. (Radio Algiers Network 7/16 in FBIS 7/17)

PM Rabin agrees to meet with Pres. Mubarak in Cairo after U.S. Secy. of State Baker's upcoming visit; meeting would be first such visit since 1986. (WP 7/17)

Palestinian "rejectionist" groups - Hamas and the Palestine National Salvation Front (PFLP-GC, Fateh Uprising, Communist Revolutionary Party, and Sa'iqa) - meet in Damascus to discuss strategy of blocking the peace process and escalating the intifada. (MM 7/16)

King Hussein arrives in Damascus for visit with Pres. Asad. (Syrian Arab Republic Radio 7/16 in FBIS 7/16)

Islamic Resistance attacks Israeli, SLA roadblock in Kafr Huna, S. Lebanon. Israel overflies Arqub region, strengthens positions in al-Qantara, al-Tayyiba with armored vehicles. (Radio Lebanon 7/16 in FBIS 7/17)

Syrian VP 'Abd al-Halim Khaddam says Syria will not withdraw to eastern Lebanon in September, states that Taef accord requires withdrawal within 2 years of constitutional adoption of political reforms. (VOL 7/16 in FBIS 7/16)