Thursday, July 1, 2004

The IDF continues operations in Bayt Hanun, announcing plans to create a buffer zone around the town to prevent rocket fire, firing missiles into residential areas (killing 3 Palestinians, injuring 21), bulldozing at least 100 dunams of olive and citrus trees; raids Rafah allegedly to search for more smugglers tunnels, demolishes 7 Palestinian homes completely and 5 partially, severely damages 15 shops; makes a rare incursion into Jericho with some 40 military vehicles, reinforced by helicopters, declaring the town a closed military zone, demolishing 1 Palestinian home, arresting some 35 Palestinians; partially demolishes 2 Palestinian homes, a mosque, a garage, a bird farm in al-Qarara; exchanges gunfire with Palestinian militants in Gaza City, wounding 5; conducts arrest raids, house searches in al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, Biddu and Qutna nr. Ramallah, Jericho, al-Mughraqa, Nur al-Shams r.c. nr. Tulkarm; fires live ammunition, tear gas at Palestinian, Israeli, international peace activists staging a nonviolent protest against the separation wall in Dayr Ballut nr. Qalqilya, lightly injuring 10s. (JTA, MM 7/1; IDF Radio, VOI, VOP 7/1 in WNC 7/3; HA, NYT 7/2; PCHR 7/8)