Saturday, February 26, 2005

A Damascus-based Islamic Jihad cell claims responsibility for the 2/25 Tel Aviv bombing, noting the end of the unofficial 1-mo. truce on 2/25 and stating that Israel had to be punished for cease-fire violations it committed; Islamic Jihad’s leadership in Gaza, however, denies responsibility, saying the group would continue to abide by an unofficial cease-fire. Israel shifts blame to Syria, which denies any responsibility, saying Islamic Jihad offices in Damascus have been closed for some time. Meanwhile, the PA security forces arrest 2 suspects in Gaza in connection with bombing; Israeli security forces arrest at least 5 suspects in Israel. The IDF tightens restrictions on Palestinian movement around Hebron; fires on 3 Palestinians attempting to sneak into Israel fr. Gaza to find work, killing 1 Palestinian, detaining 2; severely beats 2 Palestinians at a checkpoint at the entrance to al-Til nr. Nablus; places a curfew on Dayr al-Ghusun, hometown of the 2/25 suicide bomber, arrests the bomber’s 2 brothers, the village imam; fires on residential areas of Tulkarm town, r.c., and neighboring villages. An IDF border policeman shoots, wounds a Palestinian woman in Hebron after she allegedly tries to stab him during a security check. Some 15 Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba, escorted by IDF soldiers, severely beat a Palestinian farmer working his land outside Hebron; soldiers arrest the Palestinian, interrogate him before releasing him. PA security forces report that they have uncovered, sealed 12 smugglers’ tunnels in Rafah since deploying along the Gaza border. A Palestinian dies of injuries received on 2/26/04. (HA, JAZ, PRCS, VOI, VOP 2/26; IDF Radio, JAZ, NYT, PRCS, WP 2/27; MM 2/28; MM, PCHR 3/3; MEI 3/4)