Thursday, July 5, 2007

The IDF launches a major day-long incursion (including infantry, tanks, bulldozers, air support) into areas of Gaza e. of al-Bureij r.c. and al-Maghazi r.c. to “root out terrorist infrastructures,” sparking heavy clashes with local Palestinians and calling in air strikes in support; 11 Palestinian gunmen are killed (including at least 7 Hamas mbrs., 1 Islamic Jihad mbr.), 2 IDF soldiers and 25 Palestinians are wounded, 1 home is demolished, 80 d. of olive trees and agricultural land are bulldozed, 1 Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance is confiscated by the IDF, and at least 9 of about 70 Palestinians interrogated by troops are sent to Israel for further questioning. (Among the Palestinians wounded is an al-Aqsa TV cameraman, who is repeatedly shot at close range as he lies prone after initially being wounded, leaving him a double amputee; an IDF official speaking anonymously states that al-Aqsa TV employees should not be considered bona fide journalists but “Hamas operatives in every respect,” alleging that they gather intelligence and document attacks on Israeli forces for Hamas.) Islamic Jihad fires 2 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel during the clashes, causing no damage or injuries. The PRC also fires 2 rockets fr. Rafah toward Kerem Shalom crossing; 1 explodes on the launcher, injuring 1 PRC mbr., while the other lands inside Gaza, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Tulkarm town and r.c., nr. Qalqilya, and in Jenin town and r.c., Nablus, Tubas. In keeping with a decree issued by PA PM Fayyad earlier in the wk. changing the official weekend from Thursday/Friday to Friday/Saturday, Fatah-affiliated PA employees in Gaza attempt to go their workplaces today (Thursday) but are blocked by ESF officers who force the ministries to stay closed; Fatah civil servants pledge not to work on Saturday, in keeping with the decree and as a protest against Haniyeh’s provisional government. In Gaza City, 2,000 Palestinians hold a peaceful demonstration calling on Fatah, Hamas to work together. A PSF officer dies of injuries received in interfactional clashes in Jabaliya on 6/11. (NYT, WP, WT 7/6; NYT 7/7; WP 7/8; OCHA 7/11; PCHR 7/12)