Thursday, October 27, 2005

By morning, the IDF imposes a general curfew across the West Bank, sealing all Palestinian-controlled areas (including the northern villages of Alar, Qabatya, Sa‘ida, al-Til, Yabad, which are considered Islamic Jihad strongholds), cutting off the n. West Bank from the rest of the West Bank, barring all Palestinian private vehicles in the n. West Bank; recommends that Palestinians leave the n. Gaza border area nr. Bayt Hanun; reshuts the Erez, Qarni crossings (opened 10/26). Overnight IDF air strikes on suspected rocket launching sites in n. Gaza damage a bridge but cause no injuries. During the day, the IDF continues mock air raids, sonic booms over Gaza; sends 35 jeeps, Apache helicopters into Jenin to arrest local Islamic Jihad leader ‘Abd al-Halim Izzeddin (a leading moderate in the group), 3 other Islamic Jihad mbrs.; also arrests the father of the 10/26 bomber, 13 suspected Islamic Jihad mbrs. in raids across the n. West Bank in connection with the Hadera bombing; 3 Hamas mbrs. are also arrested. In addition, the IDF clashes with more than 150 radical settler youths while evacuating 5 unauthorized settlement outposts nr. Efrat, Elon Moreh, Keddumim, Kiryat Arba, Worshippers Way in Hebron, leaving 1 IDF soldier hospitalized. Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba harass Palestinians in Hebron. In the evening, the IDF assassinates Islamic Jihad n. Gaza cmdr. Shadi Muhanna, Muhanna deputy Muhammad Qandil, 5 others (including at least 3 bystanders), wounding 19 in an air strike on Muhanna’s car as he drives in Jabaliya r.c. just as evening prayers let out; also conducts several F-16 air strikes on open areas in n. Gaza (in 1 instance possibly targeting Abu Rish Brigades and Hamas positions in the area, but causing no injuries); conducts patrols, arrest raids, house searches in Dura, Jenin town and r.c., and nearby Kefar Rai. (AP, HA, YA 10/27; CSM, HA, JT, NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 10/28; NYT 10/29; PCHR 11/10)