Monday, January 29, 2007

A Palestinian suicide bomber fr. n. Gaza hikes through the Egyptian desert into Israel, hitches a ride to Elat with an Israeli motorist, detonates a device at a bakery there, killing 2 Israelis, 1 foreign worker fr. South Africa, wounding 1; the AMB, Islamic Jihad jointly claim responsibility for the attack, which is the 1st inside Israel since 4/17/06. Islamic Jihad says the bombing sends “a clear message” to Fatah and Hamas to end infighting and unite against Israel. In response, the IDF makes an air strike on a smuggler’s tunnel on the Rafah border, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus, nr. Ramallah. In Gaza, at least 5 Palestinians (2 ESF mbrs., 1 PA police officer, 2 bystanders) are killed in Fatah-Hamas fighting in Gaza, with clashes reported in Bayt Lahiya, Gaza City, Jabaliya, Khan Yunis. In the most serious incident, ESF mbrs. raid, demolish a Force 17 base s. of Khan Yunis, kidnapping and later releasing 6 Force 17 mbrs. (AP, HA, IFM, MM, NYT, REU 1/29; MM, NYT, WP, WT 1/30; MM, OCHA 1/31; PCHR 2/1)