Thursday, May 22, 2008

Overnight, the IDF sends troops into Juhur al-Dik in c. Gaza to raid, search a municipal building and cultural center, firing on surrounding residential areas, killing a 63-yr.-old Palestinian man, bulldozing the municipal building and 370 d. of agricultural land (including 5 poultry farms, killing 5,000 chickens), ordering all Palestinian men in the area to surrender for questioning, releasing all but one by late evening. During the day, under cover of Palestinian mortar fire, a Palestinian suicide bomber detonates a truck bomb on the Palestinian side of the Erez crossing, damaging a passenger tunnel but causing no other casualties; the IDF makes a helicopter air strike on a jeep accompanying the truck, killing 1 armed Palestinian; Israel seals the crossing, which has been opened to limited VIP traffic and extreme medical cases, until repairs can be made; no group takes responsibility for the attack, apparently intended to capture an IDF soldier. Some 5,000 Palestinians stage a nonviolent march fr. Gaza City to Qarni crossing to protest Israel’s ongoing siege; IDF troops at the crossing fire on the marchers, killing a 16-yr.-old Palestinian boy, wounding 16 Palestinians (including 6 youths). Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the Rafah coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron and Ramallah and in Qabatya nr. Jenin. At lest 10 Jewish settlers fr. Hebron throw stones at Palestinian children and teachers leaving a school, injuring 1 teacher and a 12-yr.-old boy; the IDF observes but does not intervene. (IFM 5/22; WT 5/23; OCHA 5/28; PCHR 5/29)