Saturday, May 19, 2007

The IDF makes 7 air strikes on Gaza, targeting 2 Hamas rocket-launching sites in n. Gaza, killing 3 Palestinian shepherds, 1 Palestinian child; hitting a car driving in Gaza City, assassinating Hamas’s Muhiy al-Din al-Sirhi, also killing 2 civilians traveling with him; destroying the Gaza City home of Hamas mbr. Imad Dallul in an apparent assassination attempt, wounding him and 3 other Hamas mbrs.; destroying 4 alleged weapons factories in Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, and Nussayrat r.c., damaging nearby homes. The IDF also shells residential areas in Bayt Hanun, injuring a Palestinian woman, 4 children. In Gaza City, 3 Palestinians are injured by IDF UXO; 3 Hamas mbrs. are injured when explosives they are handling detonate prematurely. Hamas fires an RPG at an IDF bulldozer leveling land along the Gaza border fence, injuring 2 IDF soldiers; fires 5 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, starting a brush fire but causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in, fires on residential areas of Nablus. Jewish settlers fr. Tel Rumeida in Hebron beat 2 international peace activists escorting Palestinian children nr. Beit Hadasah settlement. Jewish settlers fr. Itamar nr. Nablus burn Palestinian olive trees in nearby Bayt Furik. Meanwhile, at least 6 Palestinians are wounded in factional fighting in Gaza that includes a gun fight btwn. ESF and NSF mbrs. in Gaza City, a Hamas attack on a PSF base in Rafah, and Fatah’s kidnapping and malicious wounding of 2 Hamas mbrs. in Gaza City. NSF officers manning several checkpoints reportedly harass observant Muslims, ordering women to remove their head coverings and arresting bearded men on suspicion of being Hamas mbrs., raising public outrage against Fatah. Another Egyptian-brokered cease-fire (involving 3 phone conversations btwn. Abbas, Damascus-based Hamas leader Khalid Mishal) that was to go into effect at 3:00 P.M. local time is ignored by Hamas and Fatah. (NYT, WP 5/20; PCHR 5/21; OCHA 5/23; PCHR 5/24)