Wednesday, January 28, 2015

In the Gaza Strip, around 200 Palestinians violently protest outside the UN’s headquarters in Gaza City against UNRWA’s 1/27 suspension of its cash assistance program. The protest was organized by a Hamas comm. IDF troops e. of Khan Yunis open fire on agricultural lands, causing damage. Unknown assailants set fire to a Fatah official’s car in Gaza City. Also, dozens of Palestinian health professionals gather outside the Ministry of Health building to protest unpaid salaries. In the West Bank, a Palestinian youth is moderately injured when he sets off a piece of unexploded Israeli ordnance left over after recent IDF exercises nr. ‘Ayn al-Hilwa in the Jordan Valley. The IDF conducts arrest raids and house searches nr. Hebron and Jenin. In East Jerusalem, IDF troops conduct house searches and arrest raids in the Old City. An Israeli settler attempts to kidnap a Palestinian youth in Silwan, moderately injuring him in the attack. (AFP, MNA, WAFA 1/28; HA, MNA, PCHR 1/29; HA 1/30; PCHR 2/5)

Hours after the IDF retaliated to projectile fire from Syria on 1/27, Hizballah fighters fire an antitank missile from inside Lebanon at an IDF convoy in a disputed area along the border nr. Shaba‘ Farms, killing 2 soldiers and injuring 7. The IDF responds with artillery fire, killing a Spanish peacekeeper with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). About an hour later, Hizballah fires mortars at several IDF positions in the area, causing no injuries. The IDF responds again by firing between 25 and 50 artillery shells and conducting IAF flyovers. Following the exchange, Hizballah and the Israeli govt. then exchange messages through UNIFIL expressing the desire to avoid further escalation. (AFP, BBC, HA, JP, MNA, TOI 1/28)

U.S. House of Reps. minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) calls Israeli PM Netanyahu and asks him to postpone or cancel his planned 3/3 congressional address. Netanyahu also speaks to Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV), the minority leader, and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), a prominent supporter of Israel. (RC 1/28; JP 1/29; HA 1/30)