Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Early in the morning, Palestinians fire 2 rockets fr. Bayt Hanun into Israel, causing no damage or injuries; IDF artillery responds, shelling a road and an open field n. Gaza where Palestinians have launched rockets, causing no injuries. Despite the exchange, the IDF partially reopens the Erez and Qarni crossings. In the afternoon, an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber retaliating for the 10/24 Saadi assassination detonates a bomb in an open-air market in Hadera, killing 5 Israelis, wounding 6 seriously, 14 moderately. Palestinians also fire another rocket at the Negev (no damage or injuries), a mortar at an IDF post on the s. Gaza border (no damage or injuries). Israel immediately cancels a planned mtg. btwn. Israeli, PA cabinet mbrs.; Sharon says he will not meet with Abbas until he takes “serious action” against militants. Late in the evening, the Israeli cabinet approves Operation Starting All Over Again—a “broad and nonstop” offensive (including assassinations) against “terrorism” in the West Bank and Gaza that will continue until “terrorism” ends; says there are no plans for a ground offensive into Gaza at present, but restrictions on Palestinian movement across the West Bank will be tightened, diplomatic offensives will be raised to pressure Syria over its hosting of Islamic Jihad in Damascus. Meanwhile, right-wing Jewish settler youths occupy abandoned buildings nr. Elon Moreh, Keddumim settlements and site on Worshippers Way in Hebron, declaring new unauthorized outposts. (HA, WP, YA 10/26; HA, NYT, PCHR, WP, WT, YA 10/27; HA 10/28; IMEMC 10/31; PCHR 11/10)