Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The IDF fatally shoots 2 Palestinians allegedly planting a roadside bomb in n. Gaza; demolishes a 3-story Palestinian building, severely damages 7 Palestinian homes and 10 shops in Nablus; fires live ammunition, tear gas on a group of Palestinians who approach the closed Abu Huli checkpoint holding white flags and seeking special permission to pass, leaving 3 Palestinians seriously wounded; fires on residential areas of Dayr al-Balah, Rafah; finds a smugglers’ tunnel in Rafah; conducts arrest raids nr. Tulkarm. Hamas mbrs. fire on an IDF patrol near the n. Gaza border, wounding 3 soldiers. Palestinians fire a mortar at a Jewish settlement in s. Gaza, causing no damage or injuries; detonate a roadside bomb underneath an IDF bulldozer, causing damage but no injuries. An ailing Palestinian stranded on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing dies, reportedly bringing to 6 the number of Palestinians who have died at the crossing since it was sealed by Israel on 12/12. (AP, UPI, XIN 1/19; VOI, VOP 1/19 in WNC 1/20; NYT, PR 1/20; VOP 1/20 in WNC 1/21; PCHR 1/27)

Abbas meets with his Gaza security cmdrs. and advisers, orders PA security forces to deploy along the Gaza borders within 2 days to prevent rocket fire into Israel. (A PA security official speaking on condition of anonymity expresses concern that the security force may not have enough manpower to take adequate action.) Abbas also meets with Islamic Jihad leaders, who agree to continue discussions on a cease-fire. (AP, JTA, UPI 1/19; JAZ, Jordan Times, MENA, al-Quds, VOP 1/19 in WNC 1/20; FT, NYT, PR, WP, WT 1/20; VOI 1/20 in WNC 1/21; see also JTA 1/14)

Sharon convenes his security cabinet to discuss possible military action in Gaza, approves plans for a “large-scale invasion” of northern Gaza if Abbas does not bring Palestinian violence under control quickly. In light of Abbas’s efforts, the security cabinet unanimously agrees to allow Israel to resume security contacts with the PA. Israeli, PA security officials immediately meet to discuss Abbas’s plan to deploy security forces along the Gaza-Israel border. (AP 1/19; VOI 1/19 in WNC 1/20; HA 1/20; NYT, WP, WT 1/20)