Saturday, July 22, 2006

The IDF continues to shell n. Gaza, wounding at least 1 Palestinian civilian. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem. A Palestinian militant wounded during the 7/19–20 IDF raid on al-Maghazi r.c. dies of his injuries. (PCHR 7/27)

The IDF continues its troop build-up on the n. Israel border, artillery strikes and heavy air raids across Lebanon, incursions by small special forces units into the south. In its 1st major ground operation, the IDF sends some 2,000 soldiers, a tank brigade, armor into Maroun al-Ras (a Hizballah stronghold, reportedly largely depopulated since fighting began) on the central s. Lebanese border, stating later that after heavy, close combat, it has taken control of the town and several surrounding villages; at least 3 Hizballah mbrs., as many as 7 IDF soldiers may have been killed, several tanks disabled. Meanwhile, the IDF continues to warn s. Lebanon residents to move northward; Sidon reports some 35,000 displaced Lebanese arriving in the city today; Tyre, the largest s. Lebanese town, reports that only around 5,000 of its 175,000 residents remain. Among the targets hit in IDF air strikes are TV and cell phone transmission towers n. of Beirut (killing at least 1 Lebanese); 2 ICRC ambulances nr. Qana, killing 1 patient and injuring 6 medics, 2 patients; Hizballah targets in Baalbek, s. Beirut, Hermel, Sidon, Tyre. At least 8 Lebanese are killed during the day. Hizballah fires some 130 rockets into n. Israel, wounding 10–20 Israelis (3 seriously); targets include Carmiel, Haifa, Kiryat Shimona, Nahariya, Safad. Israel allows some ships bearing humanitarian aid to enter Lebanese ports. (AFP 7/22; NYT, WP, WT 7/23; NYT 7/24; WP 7/25)