Friday, May 9, 2008

Hamas mbrs. fire 4 mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, killing 1 Israeli civilian, wounding 3, in what may be the 1st fatal Palestinian mortar strike. The IDF retaliates with air strikes on Gaza Interior Min. security offices in Rafah (killing 2 Hamas-affiliated security officers, wounding 5 civilians) and a naval police post on the s. Gaza shore (killing 3 policemen). In a mysterious incident northeast of Jerusalem, Ofra settlement guards fire on 2 Palestinians whom they claim approached the settlement fence carrying a hunting rifle, killing 1 Palestinian and detaining the other, turning him over to the IDF, which quickly seals the area; later, the AMB claims responsibility for an attack on Ofra but says the man killed was an innocent bystander and that its mbrs. escaped unharmed. Also in the West Bank, the IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, percussion grenades, tear gas at Palestinian, Israeli, international activists taking part in the weekly nonviolent demonstration against the separation wall in Bil‘in (10s suffer tear gas inhalation) and beat demonstrators at a similar protest al-Masa’ra (lightly injuring 3). (WP 5/10; NYT 5/11; PCHR 5/15)

Hizballah and its allies take control of streets in west Beirut, attacking and shutting down media outlets owned by Saad Hariri’s Future Movement, as the army steps aside, saying soldiers will keep peace but not take sides. Hizballah also takes over several government offices, but immediately turns them over to army. Clashes abate somewhat after Hariri orders his forces not to fight. (BBC 5/9; NYT, WP, WT 5/10; Los Angeles Times 5/12; NYT 5/18)