Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Overnight, Hamas secures the release of BBC reporter Johnston fr. the Army of Islam, which kidnapped him on 3/12; Haniyeh holds a press conference with Johnston at his Gaza City home, facilitates his transfer to the British Consulate in Jerusalem; British FM David Miliband “fully acknowledge[s] the crucial role” played by Hamas and Haniyeh in securing his release. Meanwhile, the IDF bulldozes Palestinian land in n. Gaza, reinforces troops inside the border nr. Bayt Hanun (conducting arrest raids, house searches, occupying a Palestinian home, bulldozing land), expanding the IDF’s n. Gaza buffer zone. Islamic Jihad fires an RPG at an IDF jeep on the Israeli side of the border fence nr. Dayr al-Balah; the missile lands inside Gaza, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in Bethlehem and nr. Hebron, Jenin, Tulkarm. A Palestinian teenager dies of wounds received during a 2004 IDF raid on Hebron. (BBC, HA, NYT, WP 7/4; PCHR, WP 7/5; Jewish Telegraphic Agency 7/6; WP 7/8; OCHA 7/11; PCHR 7/12)