Tuesday, December 31, 2019

In the West Bank, 4 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Nablus and Bayt Duqqu. During the raid in Bayt Duqqu, clashes erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinians; no injuries were reported. During the raid in Nablus, Israeli forces seized a vehicle and 2 computers. During a different late-night raid in Bayt Umar, Israeli forces seized 1 vehicle, 500 Jordanian Dinars ($700) and 3,500 NIS ($1,000). Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian vehicles traveling near the Homesh settlement, causing damage to 25 vehicles and injuries to Palestinians from shattered glass. Israeli settlers also attacked 2 Israeli police officers disguised as Palestinian technicians at the Bat Ayin settlement. The 2 settlers were arrested by the Israeli police officers. In Gaza, Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian agricultural lands east of Khan Yunis; no injuries were reported. (WAFA, WAFA 12/31; HA 1/1; PCHR 1/2)

In Baghdad, Iraqi protesters attacked the U.S. embassy after funerals were held for the 25 members of Kata’ib Hezbollah who were killed in U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on 12/29. Protesters managed to enter the embassy compound and ignited several fires. It was reported that the U.S. ambassador and staff were evacuated from the embassy before the protesters entered the compound. U.S. forces remained inside the embassy throughout the attack. According to an Associated Press reporter, a loudspeaker urged the protesters to leave, saying “the message was delivered.” U.S. president Donald Trump said in a tweet that Iran orchestrated the attack on the U.S. embassy in Iraq and that he holds Iran “fully responsible.” As the events were unfolding, U.S. secretary of defense Mark Esper said that the U.S. was deploying some 750 additional troops to the Middle East. (AJ, AJ, AP, CNN, Guardian, HA, HA, REU, WP 12/31; HA 1/1)