Monday, July 24, 2006

In Gaza, the IDF drops leaflets on and makes automated phone calls to residents in n. Gaza warning them to evacuate areas around rocket launch sites, buildings used by militants; shells Bayt Lahiya, killing 3 Palestinian civilians, wounding 11 others (the IDF says a shell may have misfired); repeatedly shells Bayt Hanun and perimeter, killing 3 Palestinian civilians, wounding 8; shells a shed on a farm nr. Gaza City, allegedly serving as a weapons depot. IDF troops stationed at the Dahaniyya airport fire on residential areas of nearby al-Shuka, wounding 1 Palestinian woman outside her home. Palestinians fire 8 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Late in the evening, the IDF conducts air strikes destroying 2 Palestinian homes in Gaza City and Khan Yunis (belonging to an Islamic Jihad mbr.), damaging surrounding stores and residences, wounding 3 bystanders; in both cases, the IDF phoned the homes 20 min. before the attack to warn residents to evacuate. The IDF also makes an air strike destroying a house of a Hamas mbr. under construction in Brazil r.c., also destroying 2 neighboring homes, damaging several others, wounding 15 bystanders (including 7 children). In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Beitunia nr. Ramallah; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Jericho, Tulkarm, and in ‘Askar r.c., Azariyya, Jenin town and r.c.; bulldozes 35 d. of Palestinian land for construction of the separation wall nr. Jerusalem. (WP 7/24; NYT, WP 7/25; PCHR 7/27; B’Tselem 8/3)

IDF ground forces advance another halfmile into s. Lebanon, using bulldozers to clear roads and demolish buildings, engaging Hizballah mbrs. in Bint Jubayl and encountering artillery fire, antitank weapons, land mines, leaving 2 IDF soldiers dead, 14–20 IDF soldiers wounded, 2 Hizballah mbrs. captured, an unknown number of Hizballah casualties, up to 5 IDF tanks disabled; an IDF helicopter returning fr. Bint Jubayl crashes in the n. Galilee, killing another 2 IDF soldiers. Meanwhile, IDF-Hizballah clashes continue in Maroun al-Ras. The IDF also continues air strikes across Lebanon, targeting at least 70 Hizballah sites (particularly around Tyre), killing at least 7 Lebanese civilians; also hitting a UN post, injuring 4 UNIFIL soldiers. Hizballah fires around 80 rockets into n. Israel, injuring 20 Israelis, 2 seriously, and starting brush fires. (JAZ, NBC Nightly News, Slate, Wall Street Journal 7/24; NYT, WP, WT 7/25; WP 7/26)