Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The IDF raids Yamun nr. Jenin, surrounds the house of wanted Islamic Jihad mbrs. Zahir and Warad Abahra (uncle and nephew), begins to bulldoze the house when they do not surrender, sparking an exchange of gunfire that leaves both men dead; also conducts arrest raids, bulldozes part of a 2d Palestinian home, uproots 10s of olive trees elsewhere in Yamun; razes the remains of a Byzantine church nr. Dayr al-Balah, known for its mosaic floors dating to 586 A.D.; fires on residential areas of Dura nr. Hebron; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Tulkarm, around Hebron; sends undercover units to arrest a wanted Palestinian in Bethlehem; bulldozes Palestinian agricultural land in Shufa nr. Tulkarm to widen the buffer zone around Avni Hefetz and Einav settlements; issues military orders confiscating 15 d. of land nr. Qalqilya for the construction of new settler bypass roads. 1,000s of Israeli disengagement protesters demonstrate in s. Israel for a 2d day. A Palestinian teenager stabs, lightly injures an Israeli in Jerusalem. Hamas fires 7 Qassam rockets, 19 mortars at Gush Katif and Neve Dekalim, injuring a foreign worker, damaging a house. Jewish settlers fr. Karnei Shomron throw stones at Palestinian cars on the Nablus–Qalqilya road, damaging 1 bus. PA security forces make a predawn raid on a Hamas educational center in Jabaliya r.c., seize computers and documents, while armed AMB mbrs. working with them torch 2 of the offices and 2 cars. (Senior Fatah, AMB officials say that in recent days, Abbas asked the AMB to help fight Hamas and ensure calm in Gaza in advance of disengagement, but that this is not official PA policy.) Hamas mbrs. attack the security forces and AMB mbrs., resulting in heavy clashes that leave 13 people wounded. In reaction, 100s of Palestinians demonstrate outside the PC offices in Ramallah to call for national unity and an end to the security chaos. Late in the evening, the Egyptian delegation secures agmt. of Fatah, Hamas to withdraw all armed forces fr. the streets of n. Gaza. 5 PA intelligence officers raid the al-Quds University forensics lab, the only forensics lab in the West Bank, rummage through and tamper with evidence in several murder, malpractice investigations; 100s of students mass to protect the lab, scuffle with plainclothes intelligence officers; the PA Justice Min. opens an investigation. (AFP, AP, IMEMC, XIN 7/19; MENA, VOI, VOP, YA 7/19 in WNC 7/20; HA, NYT, OCHA, PR, PRCS, REU, WAFA, WP, WT, XIN 7/20; VOP 7/20 in WNC 7/21; PCHR 7/21)