Occupied Palestine/Israel: P. M. Peres calls Sunday Times report on Israeli nuclear bomb factory "sensationalist" and repeats longstanding Israeli policy...
In the West Bank, the IDF makes an overnight raid on Nablus, reportedly uncovering an Islamic Jihad pipe bomb factory in the Old City, exchanging fire with Islamic Jihad mbrs., causing no reported injuries. Troops withdraw and then reenter Nablus before dawn, this time declaring the start of Operation Hot Winter— the largest military operation in the West Bank since 7/06 and the largest in Nablus in 3 yrs.—sealing the city, imposing a curfew, taking over TV and radio stations, conducting house-to-house searches, barring access to 2 hospitals, reportedly uncovering a 2d bomb-making factory and finding a LAU hand-held guided missile and launcher (either stolen from the IDF or purchased on the Israeli black market); 2 IDF soldiers, 6 Palestinians are wounded in exchanges of fire; an Associated Press photographer films IDF soldiers forcing a Palestinian man to act as a human shield, leading troops into Palestinian homes—a violation of international and Israeli law. The IDF also conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Jenin. Nr. Hebron, suspected Palestinian assailants fatally stab a Jewish settler. Jewish settlers fr. Avigail nr. Hebron uproot 30 Palestinian olive trees. Overnight in Khan Yunis, 5 Palestinians are killed, more than 40 wounded in a family feud with factional overtones, raising concerns that intra-Palestinian fighting, which has tapered off since Fatah and Hamas reached a national unity agmt. in Mecca on 2/8 (see Quarterly Update in JPS 143), might resume: The fighting begins when mbrs. of the Khawareh clan, relatives of a Fatah mbr. killed in factional fighting on 1/07, fatally shoot Hamas mbr. Muhammad Ali Ghalban, whom they blame for his death, sparking exchanges that leave 2 Khawareh relatives, 2 bystanders dead. On the Rafah border, 1 Palestinian is killed, 6 are injured when a smugglers’ tunnel they are digging collapses. Palestinian workers at Qarni crossing strike for the day, forcing the crossing to close. Unidentified gunmen in Bureij r.c. fire on an ESF post, causing no injuries. In Israel, Israeli police raid 2 companies in Ramat Gan that do business with companies in Gaza, arresting several employees on suspicion of funneling money to Hamas, Islamic Jihad. (AP, HA, NYT, WP, WT 2/25; AP, HA, NYT, WP 2/26; OCHA 2/28; AP, PCHR 3/1; WP 3/3)
Defusing the crisis with Shas over the government relocation of a turbine on the Sabbath (see 8/13), PM Barak promises that the government will consider weekday alternatives for similar projects in the future. (NYT, WP 8/16; MEI 8/20)
Iran orders 7 top security officials (including Tehran's chief of police and senior antiriot officers), several mbrs. of Ansar-e Hezbollah to stand trial for raiding a dormitory at Tehran University on 7/9. (WP 8/16; MEI 8/20)
In the PA-controlled section of Hebron, an explosion destroys a Palestinian shop, causing no injuries. PA police suspect the store served as bomb factory. (NYT, WP, WT 8/16; WT 8/17; MEI 8/20)
PA police arrest the chief editor, a reporter fr. Hamas's al-Risala newspaper; order them detained for 48-hrs. to investigate allegations that they distorted an interview with a PA prosecutor. (HJ 8/15 in WNC 8/16)
Arafat briefs EU special envoy Moratinos on the status of the peace process, urges EU to put more pressure on Israel. (PR 1/16)
French FM Vedrine arrives in Jordan, meets with King Hussein, then heads to Damascus. (RFI, RJ 1/12 in WNC 1/13; JT, RFI 1/12 in WNC 1/14)
Shin Bet extends for 3 mos. permission for interrogators to use "moderate physical pressure" (including shaking, sleep deprivation, noise exposure hooding) when questioning Hamas suspects. (PCHR 1/15)
In Nablus, Israeli, PA security teams raid alleged Hamas bomb factory, seize 300 kg. of explosives. (MM 1/13; WP, WT 1/14; PR 1/23)
Israel-Lebanon Monitoring Group (ILMG) holds 1st mtg. of the year to discuss 3 Lebanese, 3 Israeli complaints; urges greater caution to protect civilians. ILMG held 25 mtgs. in 1997. During 1997 40 Lebanese were killed, 120 Lebanese and 1 Israeli were wounded in violations of the 4/96 understanding. (VOL 1/12 in WNC 1/13; RL 1/13 in WNC 1/14)
Occupied Palestine/Israel: P. M. Peres calls Sunday Times report on Israeli nuclear bomb factory "sensationalist" and repeats longstanding Israeli policy on nuclear weapons (i.e., Israel "will not be the first to introduce" them) (WP, NYT 10/7).
Other Countries: In London, trial opens of Nizar Hindawi, Jordanian accused of trying to blow up El Al jumbo jet with 375 passengers on board on 4/17 by giving girlfriend suitcase with bomb inside. Prosecution says Hindawi told British investigators that Syrian military intelligence officers gave him money, passport, explosives, and bomb training (NYT, WP 10/7). Israeli diplomatic mission in Geneva announces name of third Taba arbitrator: Gunnar Lagergren of Sweden. Other two are Pierre Bellet of France and Dietrich Schindler of Switzerland (JP 10/7).
Arab World: Eight Israeli jets attack PFLP training camp and ammunition dump north of Tripoli, ten miles from Syrian border; nine are wounded-seven guerrillas and two civilians. First Israeli bombing activity in north Lebanon in 15 months, but 12th in Lebanon this year (WP, NYT 10/7). Video recordings of three French hostages are received in West Beirut news agency office (NYT 10/7).