Sunday, February 1, 2009

Palestinians fire at least 4 rockets and several mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, lightly injuring 2 IDF soldiers and 1 Israeli civilian nr. Nahal Oz. For a 3d day, the IDF relays automated phone messages to Rafah residents ordering them to evacuate houses nr. the border. The Israeli cabinet discusses the recent rocket fire at its regular weekly session, stating afterward that while Israel believes small Palestinian factions (including the AMB) are responsible for the fire, Israel would hold Hamas responsible and would respond “disproportionately” to each attack. After the cabinet session, Israeli warplanes fly over Gaza, setting off sonic bombs as a warning. Soon after, the IDF makes massive air strikes (apparently using GBU-39 bunker-busting munitions) on 6 smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border, and a smaller air strike on a Hamas-affiliated police station in c. Gaza (targeted previously); no injuries were reported. During the day, Israel allows 193 truckloads of goods (much of it seed and fodder) and 45 tons of medicine and medical equipment into Gaza during the day. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night house searches in ‘Askar r.c. nr. Nablus, Bayt Sahur, Tulkarm r.c. and nr. Jenin, making no arrests. (AP 2/1; HA, IDF Radio, MM, NYT, WP 2/2; MM, YA 2/3; NYT 2/4; PCHR 2/5)