Tuesday, July 25, 2006

In Gaza, the IDF shells areas nr. Khan Yunis, wounding 2 Palestinians and damaging an ambulance coming to their rescue; fires on a Palestinian family tending their fields nr. the border fence with Israel e. of al-Qarara, killing a Palestinian teenager; bulldozes 7 d. of agricultural land nr. al-Maghazi r.c. Palestinians fire several rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the Israeli forces send undercover units into al-Bireh for a day-long operation, imposes a curfew, surrounds 2 apartment buildings, occupies neighboring homes as sniper and observation posts, orders all residents out for ID checks, then raids the building arresting a wanted Palestinian; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Hebron (firing on stone-throwing Palestinians who confront the troops, wounding 1), Nablus; bulldozes 10s of d. of agricultural land nr. Bethlehem for construction of the separation wall. To protest U.S. Secy. of State Condoleezza Rice’s mtg. with Abbas today, Palestinians in Ramallah observe a general strike, 100s conduct a protest march (some waving Lebanese flags). A Jewish settler fr. Beitar Ilit nr. Bethlehem fires on a 47- yr.-old Palestinian walking nearby, wounding him with a live bullet in the jaw. A Jewish settler fr. Tene Oranim in Hebron throws a grenade at Palestinian shepherds tending a flock nearby, wounding 1 Palestinian, killing 3 sheep. A Palestinian civilian injured during Israeli operations in al-Maghazi r.c. on 7/19 dies. (NYT, WP, WT 7/26; PCHR 7/27)

Israeli Forces conduct air and artillery strikes on a UN Observer Group Lebanon post near al-Khiyam, hitting the area 21 times (at least 11 of them air strikes), killing 4 unarmed UN Truce Supervision Organization mbrs., continuing the aerial assault while rescue efforts are underway; continues air strikes in s. Beirut and across s. Lebanon, especially in Nabatiyya (where at least 6 Lebanese civilians are killed when 2 homes are hit by missiles), Tyre. Ground battles involving Israeli tank and Hizballah antitank fire, fierce house-to-house combat supported by Israeli artillery and helicopter fire continue in Bint Jubayl and Maroun al-Ras and are reported in Yaron to the west; by nightfall, Israel claims to have secured control of Bint Jubayl, killed senior Hizballah cmdr. Abu Jaafir and 20–30 Hizballah mbrs., though there is no independent confirmation; at least 3 Israeli soldiers are wounded. Hizballah fires more than 90 rockets into n. Israel, killing an Israeli Druze in Maghir, injuring 30 Israelis (mostly suffering fr. shock); other targets include Haifa, Ma’alot, Nahariya, Safad, Tiberias. (NYT, WP, WT 7/26; NYT 7/27)