Saturday, July 31, 2010

In continued retaliation for the 7/30 Grad strike, the IDF carries out a predawn air strike on c. Gaza assassinating senior Hamas military cmdr. and rocket maker Issa Batran, marking the 1st Israeli assassination in Gaza since Operation Cast Lead (OCL) ended in 1/09. (Israel attempted to assassinate Batran during OCL, making an air strike on his home, killing his wife and 5 of his children.) Later in the day, unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, damaging a vacant daycare facility. The IDF responds with 2 additional air strikes on a smuggling tunnel and an open area in s. Gaza. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials in the fmr. Jewish settlement sites and in the Erez industrial zone, wounding 3 Palestinians. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night house searches in and around Hebron, summoning several Palestinians for interrogation; fires tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists taking part in weekly nonviolent demonstrations against land confiscation and settlement expansion nr. Karme Tzur settlement nr. Hebron. (HA, IDF, YA 7/31; MEZ, NYT, WP 8/1; PCHR 8/5; OCHA 8/13)