Wednesday, February 6, 2002

An Israeli bus driver coming fr. Ma'ale Adumim stops at an Israeli checkpoint into Jerusalem, warns border police of a suspicious passenger on board. Israeli border police scuffle with and detain a Palestinian passenger wearing an explosive device, which is defused by bomb experts. Later, a Hamas gunman dressed as an IDF soldier infiltrates a home in the West Bank settlement of Hamra, fatally shoots 2 Jewish settlers, 1 IDF soldier, wounds 4 settlers before being shot dead by soldiers. In response, IDF F-16s bomb 2 prisons in Nablus, injuring 11 Palestinians. During the strikes, wardens release 25 Hamas, Islamic Jihad prisoners (including 2 of Israel's most wanted, Islamic Jihad mbrs. Mahmud Tawalba, Ali Safuri) for their safety but keep 103 suspected collaborators in custody. The IDF also captures a vegetable truck on Jenin-Nablus road loaded with 8 Qassam-2 missiles and a launcher; fatally shoots 1 Palestinian who threw a hand grenade at an IDF post on the Rafah border; demolishes 3 Palestinian homes in Bayt Hanina and Shu`fat; arrests 3 Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza coast, confiscates their boats. The IDF also raids, confiscates the files of, and closes the East Jerusalem offices of 2 NGOs that represent Palestinian interests: the Arab Studies Society's Land Research Center, the Welfare Association's Multisectoral and Technical Offices. (AP, LAW 2/6; MM, NYT, WP, WT 2/7; NYT, WP, WT 2/8; NYT 2/9; MA 2/10 in WNC 2/11; MA 2/11 in WNC 2/12; PCHR 2/13; HA 2/17)

In a report to Congress, CIA Dir. George Tenet identifies several "terrorist groups"--including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP--that have no ties to al-Qa`ida but could be future U.S. targets because they have "displayed anti-U.S. sentiments" and have threatened U.S. interests overseas. (WP 2/10)