Sunday, July 2, 2006

Overnight, the IDF escalates its military operations in Gaza, making air strikes on Haniyeh’s empty Gaza City offices (destroying them, but causing no casualties), an Interior Min. office used by the ESF (killing 1 Hamas volunteer with the ESF, wounding a 2d) in Jabaliya r.c., 2 ESF training sites in Gaza City (no casualties), a Gaza City school (causing damage but no injuries); shells the s. Gaza coast fr. the sea, causing no injuries; continues to shell open areas in n. Gaza (setting fire to a Palestinian home), break the sound barrier over the Strip. Egyptian security envoy Omar Sulayman cancels plans to visit Gaza as Egyptian mediation efforts to free Cpl. Shalit will not result in a deal, though lower-level efforts continue. During the day, the IDF reduces the rate of shelling of n. Gaza; fatally shoots 3 armed Palestinians nr. the Dahaniyya airport. Under international pressure, Olmert allows Qarni crossing to open for 5 hrs. for the import of basic goods, resumes fuel deliveries to Gaza through Nahal Oz to ease the humanitarian situation. In the West Bank, the IDF raids a Nablus hospital in a failed search for a wanted Palestinian, firing on the surrounding neighborhood (wounding 1 Palestinian) and stone-throwing youths who confront the troops (wounding 6); patrols in and around Nablus, bulldozing several Palestinian vehicles, raiding and shutting down transmission of the Nablus TV station; raids 4 Islamic charities and a clinic in ‘Askar r.c., 3 other charities in Bethlehem, nr. Qalqilya, and in Tulkarm, confiscating computers, files; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Nablus, Salfit and nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin; conducts house searches, fires percussion grenades in al-Fawwar r.c., several villages around Hebron. (AFP, AP, HA, IFM, IMEMC, NYT, WP, WT, YA 7/2; AFP 7/2 in WNC 7/2; NYT, WP 7/3; PCHR 7/6)