Monday, July 17, 2006

In Gaza, the IDF expands ground operations in Bayt Hanun under artillery fire, occupying the town, firing on residential areas (killing 2 Palestinians), bulldozing land and homes, occupying houses as military bases, forcing some residents to flee; fires 2 artillery shells at a group of Palestinian children playing soccer in al-Bureij r.c., wounding a 14-yr.-old; fires on residential areas of Abasan, wounding 1 Palestinian. Palestinians fire at least 7 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, lightly injuring 2 Israelis. In the West Bank, the IDF makes a raid on Nablus, where Palestinian militants throw an explosive device at troops, killing 1 IDF soldier, wounding 6; sends undercover units into Bethlehem to detain a wanted AMB mbr.; conducts late-night arrest raids nr. Nablus, Qalqilya. For a 2d day (see 7/16), the IDF detains al-Jazeera satellite TV’s Jerusalem bureau chief for questioning regarding violating Israeli military censorship rules. (AP 7/17; WP 7/18; PCHR 7/20)

The IDF intensifies attacks on e. and n. Lebanon, hitting Lebanese army barracks in Tripoli and army bases in Baalbek (killing 9 Lebanese soldiers), homes of Hizballah officials in the east; conducting heavy bombing of s. Beirut to destroy underground bunkers where Nasrallah and Hizballah’s senior leadership may be hiding; hitting fuel depots at the Beirut airport for a 2d time. In total, at least 38 Lebanese (mostly civilians) are killed during the day, including 12 civilians killed when the IDF targets a minibus in s. Lebanon. Hizballah responds by firing at least 30 rockets on n. Israel, including hitting Haifa with 3 rockets, shearing the front of an apartment building, wounding 6 Israelis. Britain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Ukraine, the U.S. begin evacuating their nationals. (NYT, WP 7/17; NYT, WP, WT 7/18)