Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The IDF allows departures through Rafah crossing for the 1st time since 1/8, causing a near riot among the 10,000–12,000 Palestinians gathered in the exit area, forcing the EU monitors to close the crossing late in the morning. Palestinians later fire on Rafah crossing in an attempt to force it to reopen, wounding 1 Palestinian bystander. Palestinians also fire 2 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in ‘Azun, clashing with stone-throwing Palestinians who confront the troops; conduct arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus, nr. Qalqilya, and in Hebron, Tulkarm town and r.c. Israeli authorities begin excavation work 50 yds. fr. the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount with the stated purpose of replacing a centuries-old walkway damaged in a snowstorm in 2004, denies archeological digging is underway though it admits that, by law, any artifacts must be salvaged before work can begin; Waqf officials protest the work; Hamas organizes peaceful demonstrations in Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City, Jabaliya r.c., Khan Yunis, Nussayrat r.c., Rafah against the construction. In Gaza City, Dahlan’s bodyguards kill 1 ESF mbr., wound 3 in a drive-by shooting. In Khan Yunis, ESF mbrs. release Dahlan’s nephew, kidnapped on 2/3, after severely beating him. ESF, Fatah mbrs. exchange fire in Khan Yunis, wounding 1 bystander. ESF mbrs. break into a Force 17 base in Bayt Hanun, temporarily detain 4 Force 17 mbrs. In Gaza City, 2,000 PA employees rally to call for a halt to intraPalestinian violence. (IFM, MM, NYT, OCHA 2/7; MM, PCHR 2/8; PLONAD 2/9)