Thursday, June 29, 2006

Overnight, the IDF stages scores of arrest raids across the West Bank detaining 64 senior Hamas political officials, including 8 PA cabinet mbrs. and 26 PC mbrs., plus 23 senior Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades mbrs. Haniyeh, Siyam, PA FM Mahmud Zahhar remain free. (100s of Palestinians in Jenin, Ramallah, Tulkarm hold marches, sit-ins to protest the Israeli arrest of PA legislators.) Israel says the arrest campaign has been planned for wks., with the government securing Atty. Gen. Menachem Mazuz’s authorization and arrest warrants far in advance of the Kerem Shalom attack on 6/25. In Gaza, the IDF shells 2 electricity transformers and open areas of n. Gaza, cutting all electricity to n. Gaza and wounding 1 Palestinian civilian; makes air strikes on 2 electrical shops in Khan Yunis, a Hamas training camp outside Khan Yunis, a car carrying 4 Islamic Jihad mbrs. in Gaza City, wounding 3 bystanders in the Gaza City incident; fires at least 30 shells at areas around Khan Yunis, wounding 1 Palestinian farmer; conducts house searches in al-Shuka nr. Rafah; intermittently breaks the sound barrier to harass the Gaza population. In response to Israel’s military escalation, the PRC mbrs. overnight kill a Jewish settler teenager they reported they kidnapped on 6/27; the IDF finds his body buried nr. Ramallah. During the day, the IDF makes an air strikes on targets in s. Gaza and on a car driving in Gaza City in an attempt to assassinate an Islamic Jihad mbr., who escapes lightly wounded; shells n. and s. Gaza, lightly wounding at least 3 Palestinians. AMB, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Islamic Jihad, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) mbrs. also fire at least 6 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing light damage to a farm. Palestinian militants (thought to be Hamas) blow a hole in the Gaza-Egypt border fence; cordons of PA security forces,Egyptian border guards prevent most Palestinians fr. crossing through, though the militants who set the bomb reportedly escape into Egypt. In the evening, Olmert, Peretz order the IDF to suspend plans to send the Givati Brigade into n. Gaza overnight as planned in light of requests fr. Egypt to allow its envoys in Gaza more time to secure Shalit’s release. Meanwhile in the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches (unrelated to the arrest of PA officials) in Hebron, and in and around Ramallah, Salfit; raids 6 Islamic charities and schools nr. Hebron, Jenin and in Bethlehem, Tulkarm, confiscating computers, files; issues military orders confiscating 25 d. of Palestinian land nr. Hebron for construction of the separation wall. (HA, IFM, IMEMC, JAZ, MM, NYT, WP, WT, YA 6/29; AFP, MENA, OSC, PSCT, VOI, VOP 6/29 in WNC 6/30; CSM, HA, MM, NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 6/30; OSC, PSCT, YA 6/30 in WNC 7/1; al-Ayyam 7/1 in WNC 7/2; HA, PCHR 7/6; PCHR 7/27)