Saturday, August 12, 2006

In Gaza, IDF troops occupy the Dahaniyya airport, seal the Rafah crossing (reopened on 8/10), raze large areas of agricultural land, destroy several greenhouses and sites used by the PA security forces, blow up what it says is a smuggler’s tunnel. In the West Bank, the IDF raids 2 hospitals in Hebron, conducts random ID checks on the streets in search of wanted Palestinians, but makes no arrests; patrols in, fires on residential areas of Azun, Jenin; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Balata r.c., nr. Bethlehem. Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba attack Palestinian homes in Hebron. Unidentified gunmen shoot, wound a PA General Intelligence officer in Gaza City. (OCHA 8/16; PCHR 8/17)

Hizballah, the Lebanese government endorse UN Res. 1701, Hizballah says it will maintain its “natural right to resist” in keeping with international law as long as IDF troops “are practicing an occupation and acts of aggression” inside Lebanon. Meanwhile, the IDF continues heavy air and artillery strikes across Lebanon, mostly targeting infrastructure and roads, including destroying electricity plants nr. Sidon, a Lebanese army base in the Biqa‘ Valley, 2 homes nr. Bint Jubayl (killing at least 15 Lebanese civilians); air strikes are concentrated around Sidon and Tyre (cutting electricity to Tyre), in the north btwn. Akkar and Arida, and in central s. Lebanon nr. Bint Jubayl. The IDF also rapidly expands ground offensives in the south, sending in additional troops and artillery, with heavy clashes reported in the Bint Jubayl area, in Ghanduriyya and Dayr Sirin s. and w. of Marja’uyun, and s. of Tyre. Hizballah continues to fire rockets into n. Israel (hitting targets in Kiryat Shimona, Ma’alot, Safad and nearby Amirim) and downs an IDF helicopter, killing 5 IDF soldiers (including Israel’s 1st female combat fatality). The casualty toll during the day includes 24 IDF soldiers dead (2 when an IDF tank rolls over them) and 70 wounded, and at least 26 Lebanese civilians, 1 Lebanese soldier killed; the IDF claims to have killed 50 Hizballah mbrs. in the previous 24 hrs. (al-Manar TV 8/12; NYT, WP, WT 8/13)