Sunday, July 18, 2004

The IDF closes the Rafah crossing to Egypt indefinitely, citing security concerns; conducts an overnight raid into Saida nr. Tulkarm, firing on residential areas, rounding up residents for questioning, exchanging fire with Palestinian gunmen, killing 2 wanted Palestinians; conducts house searches in Bizariyya in the West Bank, causing a 57-yr.- old Palestinian woman to suffer a fatal heart attack; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Askar r.c., ‘Azun nr. Qalqilya, Bayt Rima, al-Khadir, al-Mughraqa; fires on Palestinians waiting to cross a checkpoint in the al-Mawasi area of s. Gaza, wounding 5; fires on residential areas of Rafah; bulldozes large areas of agricultural land, demolishes 2 civilian cars in Bayt Hanun. A 4-yr.-old Palestiniandies of injuries received in Rafah on 7/7. (VOP 7/18 in WNC 7/21; PR 7/21; PCHR 7/22)

Outside the PC headquarters in Gaza, Fatah mbrs. continue to protest against Musa Arafat’s appointment. In the evening, some 150 armed AMB mbrs. attack the PA military intelligence headquarters in Rafah, using a bulldozer in an attempt to break into the complex, exchanging gunfire with security guards, leaving 18 Palestinians (including at least 3 AMB mbrs., several bystanders) wounded. AMB mbrs. also attack the PA military intelligence building in Khan Yunis, setting 2 offices ablaze, stealing weapons, freeing some detainees, wounding a security guard in an exchange of fire; staging marches in Nussayrat r.c. Navy security chief Juma Ghali, an Arafat loyalist, resigns his position to protest the Musa Arafat appointment. (MM, NYT, WP, WT 7/19; SA 7/19 in WNC 7/21; AYM 7/19 in WNC 7/24; PR 7/21; WP 7/22)