Saturday, August 2, 2008

In the West Bank, Jewish settlers in Hebron attack Palestinians and their property in Wadi al-Nassara, severely beating 2 Palestinians. Separately, Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba stone Palestinian cars driving nr. the settlement, causing no reported injuries. In Gaza, Hamas-affiliated police raid an area of Gaza City controlled by the Hillis family, which Hamas has accused of hiding suspects wanted in connection with the 7/25 bombings, sparking violent clashing involving exchanges of mortars and grenades that leave 11 Palestinians dead (2 policemen, 8 mbrs. of the Hillis clan, 1 bystander) and 88 injured (including 12 children), marking some of the heaviest intra-Palestinian fighting since 6/07. (A 12th Palestinian dies several days later.) By afternoon, Hamas forces seize control of the 100,000-resident Shijaiyah neighborhood, conduct house-to-house searches for weapons and suspects, arresting 50 people. During the fighting, 188 Fatah mbrs. fr. Gaza, including clan leader and senior Fatah mbr. Ahmad Hillis, flee to Nahal Oz crossing, where Israel grants them entry for transit to the West Bank; Hamas police fire on the fleeing men, injuring 22, who are treated in Israeli hospitals. Hamas also closes a PFLP radio station in Gaza for reporting sympathetic to Fatah. (NYT, WP, WT 8/3; WT 8/4; OCHA 8/6; PCHR 8/7; OCHA 8/20)