Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Overnight, the IDF sends troops into ‘Askar r.c. in search of a wanted Palestinian, demolishing his family home and 3 nearby homes of relatives, wounding his sister, arresting 4 relatives, firing on stone-throwing Palestinians who confront the troops, wounding 9; a Palestinian woman dies of a heart attack during the raid; the wanted man is not found. Also in the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Zababda nr. Jenin, firing on stone-throwing youths who confront them; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron, and nr. Bethlehem, Jenin. In Gaza, IDF closes the Qarni crossing; exchanges fire with Islamic Jihad mbrs. nr. Khan Yunis, then moves troops into Abasan to search for the gunmen, patrolling and firing on residential areas, withdrawing late in the evening, leaving 1 Islamic Jihad mbr. dead. Late in the evening, the IDF makes an air strike destroying the Khan Yunis home of an AMB mbr. (residents are warned in advance to leave but are given too little time; an elderly Palestinian and his son are killed, 3 Palestinians are injured, 5 nearby houses are damaged). PA security forces search for 2 Fox News journalists kidnapped in Gaza on 8/14; Haniyeh also appeals for their release. A Palestinian dies of injuries received during an 7/6 IDF attempted assassination in Jenin r.c. (NYT, WP, WT 8/16; PCHR 8/17; OCHA 8/25)

The Israel-Lebanon front remains relatively quiet, with UNIFIL confirming no breaches of the cease-fire, though the IDF fatally shoots 3 Hizballah mbrs. in s. Lebanon in incidents deemed defensive. UNIFIL reports no significant Israeli withdrawals fr. Lebanon, though the IDF does pull several 100 reservists and tanks into Israel. Tens of thousands of Lebanese civilians continue to return to their homes in s. Lebanon, though the IDF drops leaflets warning them to stay away. Hizballah begins disbursing financial aid to displaced families to aid them in their return (reportedly allocating $150 m. to the task); begins recording and assessing damage to personal property and infrastructure, with the aim of executing a long-term reconstruction effort. Now free to move, relief workers in s. Lebanon begin uncovering 10s of bodies buried in the rubble of destroyed buildings. (NYT, WT 8/15; NYT, WP, WT 8/16)