Sunday, December 18, 2005

The IDF conducts 11 air strikes and 6 mock air raids on n. Gaza (destroying a bridge nr. Bayt Hanun; hitting several main roads in Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, and Um al-Nasser; damaging several homes and injuring 6 Palestinian bystanders, including 3 children). Later, Palestinians fire a rocket fr. Gaza towards Ashkelon, causing no damage or injuries; the IDF threatens to cut off electricity to the Gaza Strip if rocket attacks continue. The IDF also tightens restrictions on Palestinian movement into and out of Qalqilya; bars a Palestinian heart attack victim fr. crossing a checkpoint into Tulkarm (still under closure; see 12/15) to reach a hospital, allowing him to die; conducts arrest raids in Balata r.c. (an IDF dog bites a 12-yr.-old and a 19-yr.-old Palestinian), Bayt Umar nr. Hebron, al-Bireh, Tulkarm (targeting the AMB). In Alar nr. Tulkarm, 2 Palestinian construction workers surprise an IDF undercover unit inside an unfinished house; the soldiers detain and beat the men, fire on other Palestinians who arrive on the scene, call in reinforcements to extract them. An IDF jeep hits, injures a 10-yr.-old Palestinian nr. Qalqilya. Israel issues tenders for the construction of 137 new housing units in Ariel and Karnei Shomron settlements. Jewish settlers fr. Matan nr. Qalqilya raze 110 d. of nearby Palestinian agricultural land. (AP, BBC, HA 12/18; WT, XIN, YA 12/19; HA, PLO press release 12/21; PCHR 12/22)

Sharon is hospitalized after suffering a mild stroke. Doctors say there will be no permanent damage; he will not be at any greater risk of another stroke, will stay in the hospital for “a few days” of observation. (JTA, NYT, WP, WT 12/19; NYT, WP, YA 12/20)