Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The IDF makes at least 4 air strikes on Gaza targeting Hamas, attempting to assassinate Hamas mbr. Muhammad Shatat as he drives in Gaza City (causing no injuries), hitting 2 suspected weapons caches and 2 money exchanges in Jabaliya r.c. (also destroying a Palestinian home) and Gaza City (wounding 7 Palestinians, including a pregnant woman, 2 children). Palestinians fire at least 3 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In Jabaliya, 2 Abu Rish Brigades mbrs. (affiliated with Fatah) are injured when explosives they are handling detonate prematurely. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Bethlehem and Nablus, in Qalqilya, and nr. Hebron, Jenin, Ramallah, Salfit, Tulkarm. Meanwhile, Abbas, Hamas-affiliated PA PM Ismail Haniyeh meet in Gaza to discuss ways of calming intra-Palestinian violence. Abbas also meets with reps. of other factions to urge them to halt rocket fire into Israel. Unidentified gunmen fire on the home of a Fatah leader in Gaza City, wounding 1 Palestinian. A Palestinian dies of injuries received in an 5/18 IDF air strike on Gaza City that assassinated 2 Hamas mbrs. (IFM, NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 5/24; OCHA 5/30; PCHR 5/31)

With the cease-fire at Nahr al-Barid r.c. holding, the Lebanese army reinforces troops around the camp. Palestinian refugees continue to flee the r.c. during the day, most heading to nearby Biddawi r.c.; at most, half of the 40,000 residents remain. The UN warns the camp is still without water, electricity; food supplies are low. The PLO says it would not object to the Lebanese army entering the r.c. if necessary; raises the possibility of sending in fighters fr. Palestinian factions who know the layout of the r.c. to roust the FI mbrs. Palestinian leaders in the camp and local Islamist figures in Tripoli attempt to negotiate a FI surrender. Meanwhile, a bomb explodes in the Druze village of Aley nr. Beirut, wounding 16 Lebanese; no group claims responsibility. (AFP, DS, LBC, OCS 5/23 in WNC 5/24; NYT, WP, WT 5/24; WT 5/25)