April 8, 2011

The IDF continues heavy air strikes (including 1 missile dropped fr. a war plane and 13 missiles fired fr. helicopters and drones) and artillery attacks (more than a dozen) hitting at least 19 targets across Gaza, killing another 11 Palestinians (5 civilians and 6 militants), wounding 20 (19 civilians and 1 militant), and damaging a commercial building and several homes. Israeli DM Barak stresses that the assaults are in response to the bus attack on 4/7 and not the start of a major offensive. Palestinians fire another 24 mortars and 6 rockets, causing damage in 2 incidents but no injuries. Various factions claim responsibility for firing, including the AMB, DFLP, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the PRCs. Israel’s new Iron Dome system intercepts 3 of the rockets. In addition, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fired warning shots at Palestinian farmers nr. the border fence, forcing them to flee. Israeli naval vessels fired toward the Gaza City beach and at Palestinian fishermen off the coast w. of Nussayrat r.c., causing no injuries. With the past 24 hrs. marking the worst flare-up in crossborder violence since OCL, UN Secy.-Gen. Ban calls on both sides to observe a ceasefire immediately. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Jericho and 2 villages nr. Ramallah (firing rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at stone-throwing youths who confront them, causing no serious injuries); conducts morning arrest raids, house searches nr. Jericho. Palestinians (sometimes accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, and Nabi Salih/Dayr Nizam. IDF soldiers fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, causing no serious injuries; 5 Palestinians are arrested. (IsRN, JP, MNA 4/8; JP, MNA, NYT, WP 4/9; IFM 4/10; PCHR 4/14; OCHA 4/15)