Thursday, July 26, 2007

Overnight, the IDF makes a major incursion into areas e. of Khan Yunis, conducting arrest raids and house searches, occupying several homes as observation posts, bulldozing 153 d. of olive and citrus trees, rounding up all males ages 16–50 for questioning (arresting 60), exchanging fire with Palestinians, and making 3 air strikes (killing 2 Hamas mbrs.; wounding at least 3 Hamas, 3 Islamic Jihad mbrs.). During the day, the IDF makes 2 more air strikes on Gaza, assassinating senior Islamic Jihad cmdr. Omar al-Khatib, 2 aides (Ahmad al-Balawi, Khalil al-Duayfi) as they drive in Gaza City, and wounding a Palestinian bystander nr. a suspected rocket launching site Bayt Lahiya. In the West Bank, the IDF fatally beats a 16-yr.-old Palestinian at a checkpoint nr. Bethlehem, claiming he attempted to stab a soldier; sends undercover units into al-Dahariyya nr. Hebron, where they hijack a Palestinian taxi, shoot and seriously wound a Palestinian teenager (no motive is given; the IDF transports the boy to an Israeli hospital for treatment); conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus, nr. Tulkarm, and in Hebron, Jenin town and r.c. (targeting Islamic Jihad members), Qalqilya. Overnight, 100s of Jewish settlers attempt to set up a new, unauthorized settlement outpost on 1,000 d. of Palestinian land nr. Artas outside Bethlehem. (NYT, WT 7/27; OCHA 8/1; PCHR 8/2)