Friday, April 2, 2010

In response to recent escalating rocket and mortar fire, IDF warplanes and helicopters carry out 7 early morning air strikes on 2 caravans nr. Khan Yunis (no injuries), a cheese factory in Gaza City (injuring 3 Palestinian children nearby), and a metal foundry in Nussayrat r.c. (no injuries) that Israel claims were weapons factories and arms depots, warning of broader retaliation if rocket attacks continue. The U.S. urges both sides to display restraint. Hrs. later, Hamas issues a statement saying it is working with Gaza factions to reimpose the cease-fire with Israel before it escalates out of control, but also condemns the Israeli air strikes for aggravating the situation and calls on the international community to press Israel to keep retaliation in check. (Salafist groups opposed to Hamas refuse to participate in the ceasefire.) In the West Bank, Palestinians stone a settler vehicle outside Hawara village nr. Nablus, causing it to crash (no word on injuries); the IDF sends troops into Hawara in pursuit of the stone throwers, arresting 1 Palestinian. The IDF also fires rubbercoated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas at Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists taking part in nonviolent weekly demonstrations against the separation wall and settlement expansion in Bil‘in (10s suffer tear gas inhalation; 1 Israeli is arrested), Dayr Nizam/al-Nabi Salih (3 Palestinians injured), al-Ma‘sara (where only Palestinians demonstrated; 4 injured), and Ni‘lin (10s suffer tear gas inhalation); conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches nr. Qalqilya. (AFP, JAZ, NYT, YA 4/2; NYT, WP 4/3; YA 4/7; PCHR 4/8; OCHA 4/15)