Thursday, October 31, 2013

In the Gaza Strip, the IDF kills 4 mbrs. of Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades in 2 separate incidents. First, IDF troops working to close a tunnel on both sides of the border are targeted by an explosion, wounding 5 soldiers. Returning fire, they kill 1 Palestinian. Subsequently, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) bombs another tunnel, killing 3 Palestinians who were inside. In addition, IDF troops along the border nr. Jabaliya r.c. open fire on an open area, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, Palestinian gunmen open fire on a settler vehicle close to Hawara checkpoint nr. Nablus, causing no injuries. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 2 villages nr. Hebron and 1 village each nr. Nablus and Jenin at night; patrols in 2 villages each nr. Hebron and Jenin and 1 village nr. Ramallah in the afternoon. Jewish settlers vandalize around 300 olive trees nr. Qalqilya. Meanwhile, suspected Jewish settlers attack a Palestinian truck driver, as well as 2 Israeli soldiers at the entrance to Bet Ayn settlement. (HA, MNA ToI, YA 10/31; PCHR 11/7)

Reports emerge that Palestinian negotiators Saeb Erakat and Mohammed Shtayyeh have handed in their resignation letters to PA Pres. Abbas, in response to what the 2 describe as Israel’s lack of commitment to the peace process. However, PLO official Wassel Abu Yousef denies that any such resignation had taken place. At a meeting of the PLO executive cmte, Abbas says that the Palestinian leadership will take steps in response to Israeli settlement construction, but without specifying exactly what. (HA, JP, MNA, ToI 10/31)

The IAF attacks a shipment of missiles located at a Syrian military base, a strike confirmed by an anonymous Obama administration official. The air strike targets missiles at a base nr. Latakia thought to be en route to Hizballah. Meanwhile, the OPCW announces that Syria has met a deadline in the internationally mandated disarmament program, with equipment and production facilities rendered inoperable. (AP, REU 10/31)

U.S. VP Joe Biden and other administration officials work to convince lawmakers to hold off from passing further sanctions targeting Iran, to let the current efforts to secure a negotiated solution have some breathing space. Comments by sens. emerging from the private briefing with Senate Democratic leaders and Republican and Democratic mbrs. of the Senate Banking Cmte. indicate that the Obama administration had done enough to convince many of the need to wait. (AP, REU 10/31)