Friday, April 4, 2008

Palestinian gunmen in n. Gaza shoot across the border at an Israeli government delegation leading a Canadian group on a tour of Sederot, seriously wounding an aide to Israel’s Public Security M Avi Dichter; the IDF returns fire, causing no reported injuries; several Palestinian groups claim responsibility including the AMB, Hamas, and 2 little-known Islamist groups: the Army of the Nation, and Protectors of the Homeland (which claims to be inspired by al-Qa‘ida). Separately, the IDF sends troops into al-Bureij r.c., where they clash with local gunmen (wounding a Palestinian girl inside her home), shell a Palestinian home (causing extensive damage but no injuries), arrest 1 Palestinian, temporarily detain 2 children (ages 12, 17); bulldozes 40 d. of citrus trees inside the Gaza border e. of Bayt Hanun. In al-Qarara, 2 Palestinians are injured when explosives they are handling detonate prematurely. In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, percussion grenades, tear gas at Palestinian, Israeli, international activists taking part in the weekly nonviolent demonstration against the separation wall in Bil‘in (10s suffer tear gas inhalation), beat Palestinian demonstrators at a similar demonstration in al-Masa’ra nr. Bethlehem (injuring 2 children, ages 6 and 7). In Nablus, 12 AMB mbrs. who had agreed to remain in PA custody overnight as part of a 7/07 amnesty deal with Israel flee Jnaid prison, claiming they were severely beaten by PA security forces; they refuse to return to the jail but pledge to respect the cease-fire. (HA 4/4; NYT, WP, WT 4/5; OCHA, PCHR 4/9)