Monday, June 30, 2014

In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians fire 18 rockets into s. Israel, causing no damage or injuries except where 2 houses are hit by shrapnel. Two of the rockets are intercepted by Iron Dome missile defense batteries. According to Israeli officials, Hamas activists were involved in this barrage, making it the 1st time the organization has participated in rocket fire since the 11/2012 cease-fire. IDF troops conduct air strikes on 34 targets across the Gaza Strip, hitting training sites of al-Qassam Brigades, Islamic Jihad, and the PRC, and agricultural areas, killing 1, injuring 4, and causing damage. Off the coast nr. Bayt Lahiya, Israeli naval forces shell an open area on the coast, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Hebron and 1 nearby village at night; patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 village nr. Hebron at night. Israeli settlers attack a Palestinian in Hebron, wounding him. Separately, settlers vandalize 12 olive trees nr. Hebron. In East Jerusalem, Israeli security forces shoot and wound 2 Palestinians with rubber-coated metal bullets during clashes nr. Haram al-Sharif. The confrontations begin after restrictions are placed on worshippers’ access to the area while right-wing Jewish activists are allowed to enter. (AP, HA, IMEMC, JP, MNA 6/30; PCHR 7/3)

Israeli security forces locate the bodies of the 3 Israeli settler teenagers nr. Hebron, not far from where they were kidnapped (on 6/12) and killed. PM Netanyahu and DM Ya’alon propose that the response to the killing of the teens should include a wave of settlement construction. Netanyahu also addresses the increased tensions in Gaza and s. Israel, saying “either Hamas will stop the rocket fire or we will.” Hamas spokesperson Abu Zuhri says that if Israel attacks Hamas in Gaza, “they will open the gates of hell on themselves,” adding that Hamas does not “want any military confrontation with Israel, but if it will be forced on us it will look like in previous rounds.” Meanwhile, U.S. Pres. Barack Obama issues a statement expressing his condolences to the families of the murdered Israeli youth, calls on Israel and the PA to cooperate to bring the guilty parties to justice, and urges all sides to exercise restraint to prevent further destabilization. (AFP, HA, JP, MNA, REU 6/30)