Thursday, January 13, 2005

Late this evening, in response to assassinations in recent days, the AMB, Hamas, the PRCs stage a joint attack on the Qarni crossing, killing 4 Israeli civilian workers at the crossing and 2 Israeli Palestinian truck drivers waiting to cross, wounding 10 people (4 of them Israelis, others not identified)—in the attack, 3 armed men, 1 fr. each group, detonate a truck bomb on the Palestinian side of the crossing, blowing open a gate to the Israeli side, then open fire with automatic weapons and toss grenades, while other mbrs. at a distance reportedly fire mortars and automatic weapons at the crossing; the 3 Palestinians initiating the attack are shot dead by the IDF. In response, IDF helicopter gunships fire rockets at Dayr al-Balah, the suspected home of the bombers, destroying a medical center run by a charity with links to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, wounding 1 Palestinian; IDF tanks also fire on targets in s. Gaza. During the day, the IDF makes a major raid into Bureij r.c., conducts arrest raids and house searches, bulldozes 41 d. of land, fires on residential areas (killing a 10-yr.-old Palestinian boy), fires on stone-throwing youths who confront the troops (wounding 2), sparking clashes with Palestinian militants (killing a wanted PRC mbr.). The IDF also fatally shoots a 2d Palestinian driving his pregnant neighbor to the Bayt Lahiya hospital when the car inadvertently enters an area where IDF arrest raids are under way, also injuring the woman’s husband; fires on residential areas of Tarqumiyya, Yatta; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Hebron (arresting local Islamic Jihad leader Khalil Mahsin), Ithna, Qalqilya, Taqu‘a, Tarqumiyya, Tulkarm, Yatta; issues military orders confiscating 363 d. of agricultural land in 5 villages northwest of Jerusalem, begins bulldozing 400 d. in Ithna w. of Hebron for construction of the separation wall. Unknown gunmen fire shots at the Gaza City offices of the Islamic Salvation Party’s al-Risala newspaper; editors believe the paper was targeted for its critical reporting on the 1/9 PA elections, which stressed the PA’s decision to extend polling hours, the PA’s skewed reporting of voter turnout figures. (AFP 1/13; JAZ, JP, VOI, VOP 1/13 in WNC 1/15; BBC, HA, MM, NYT, REU, WP, WT 1/14; MM 1/17; OCHA 1/19; PR 1/20; MEI 1/21; AYM 1/23 in WNC 1/24; PCHR 1/27; MEI 2/4)