Sunday, April 4, 2004

Israel DM Mofaz says the comprehensive closure on the West Bank, Gaza that has been in place since the 3/22 Yasin assassination will be in place until early 5/04. The IDF closes the only entrance to Qalqilya, sets up several new checkpoints on the Qalqilya–Nablus road; raids Tulkarm r.c., fatally shoots wanted Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades mbr. Khalid Kharwish in an apparent assassination, wounds 10 others, raids a hospital emergency room to arrest a critically wounded Palestinian militant; fatally shoots 3 unarmed Palestinian laborers who were apparently attempting to sneak across the Gaza border fence into Israel to find work; conducts arrest raids in Bethlehem; raids, shuts down the Arab Women’s Care Society in East Jerusalem, arresting several employees, confiscating records, seizing its bank accounts on the grounds that the group, licensed by the Israeli Interior Min. as a charitable society in 1994, is run by Hamas; blows up a Palestinian home in Tulkarm r.c.; bulldozes an area of land nr. Hebron, erects a new observation tower; fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis; conducts arrest raids, house searches in al-Bireh, Hebron, al-Khadir, Nablus. The IDF also begins work on a 2-km stretch of the separation wall btwn. Dahiyat al-Barid checkpoint n. of Jerusalem and the Qalandia checkpoint s. of Ramallah that will isolate, prevent the expansion of Dahiyat al-Barid and al-Ram. (al-Arabiyya TV 4/4 in WNC 5/7; WT 4/5; VOP 4/5 in WNC 4/7; NYT 4/6; PR 4/7; PCHR 4/8)

The PLF names Omar Shibli (Abu Ahmad) as secy.-gen., succeeding Muhammad Abbas who died in U.S. custody in Iraq on 3/9. (Daily Star 4/3; PR 4/7)