Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Overnight, the IDF sends tanks and troops, backed by air support, into Gaza City and Khan Yunis in a major day-long ground offensive targeting primarily Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but also including the AMB, arresting 10s of Palestinians, bulldozing 1 Palestinian home and 70 dunams of land, and leaving at least 13 Palestinians (including at least 4 gunmen and 6 civilians, including a 10-yr.-old boy) dead, more than 50 Palestinians and at least 2 IDF soldiers wounded; Fatah and Hamas gunmen fight side-by-side against the IDF, using small arms and antitank weapons. The IDF also makes an air strike on a car in Gaza City, assassinating Islamic Jihad senior cmdr. Raed Fanuna; bulldozes Palestinian land on the Gaza side of the Qarni crossing and industrial zone, along the border southeast of Khuza’a in s. Gaza. For a 2d day, the Israeli navy fires on Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza City coast, forcing them back to shore. Islamic Jihad fires 4 rockets, 5 mortars fr. Gaza toward the Erez crossing; 2 mortars land on the Gaza side, injuring a Palestinian child; those landing on the Israeli side cause no damage or injuries. In Khan Yunis, a Palestinian is killed when explosives he is handling detonate prematurely. In the West Bank, the IDF launches a major arrest campaign in the Old City of Nablus, imposing a curfew, searching homes (occupying at least 7 as sniper posts), taking over local radio stations, searching hospitals; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Bethlehem, nr. Jenin. In Ramallah, unidentified gunmen fire on the home of senior Fatah official Hani al-Hassan, causing no injuries. In Hebron, unidentified gunmen fire on the home of the local PA General Intelligence head, causing no injuries. Islamic Jihad mbr. Zakariyya al-Tartar dies of injuries received in a 6/24 IDF air strike on his vehicle in Gaza City. (PCHR, WP, WT 6/28; OCHA 7/4; PCHR 7/5)