Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Israel begins wk.-long celebrations leading up to its 60th anniversary on 5/14, while Palestinians solemnly prepare to mark the Nakba; more than a dozen foreign heads of state, including U.S. Pres. George W. Bush, plan to make official visits to Israel in the next wk. Overnight, in Gaza, IDF tanks and troops raid Abasan under cover of air support, cutting electricity to the area, exchanging heavy fire with Palestinian gunmen, making numerous air strikes and firing tank shells in the densely populated residential area, killing 1 armed Palestinian and 1 Palestinian civilian (a woman killed when soldiers detonate explosives outside her door and storm her home, detaining her children, ages 2–12, in a room for 6 hrs. before releasing them), wounding 19 armed men and 4 civilians (including 1 woman, 2 children), arresting 60 Palestinians (55 are released on 5/8), demolishing 2 Palestinian homes, and bulldozing large areas of agricultural land before withdrawing late in the evening. The IDF also makes an air strike on a group of armed Palestinians in Jabaliya r.c., killing 1 Palestinian resistance mbr., seriously wounding a 2d. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron. (PCHR, WP 5/8; PCHR 5/15)

Hizballah mbrs. and their supporters in Amal and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) set up roadblocks leading to Beirut International Airport, other major roads in an effort to press the government to reverse its 5/6 decisions. They clash with gunmen affiliated with Saad Hariri’s Future Movement, leaving 5 civilians, 2 soldiers wounded. (NYT, WP 5/8)