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...
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)