Monday, July 31, 2006

The IDF shells areas of n. Gaza, killing a 16-yr.-old Palestinian, wounding a 4-yr.- old outside their homes; detains 2 unarmed Palestinians attempting to sneak into Israel nr. al-Maghazi r.c. to find work. In the West Bank, the IDF bans Palestinians fr. entering Israel; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Hebron, Tulkarm (searching Change and Reform offices and nearby Internet cafe, damaging computers; the Palestinian Media and Studies Center, confiscating computers, files; an Islamic women’s charity and sports club, vandalizing furniture, confiscating files). For a 2d day, a PSF officer is shot, wounded by unidentified armed Palestinians nr. Khan Yunis. (NYT 8/1; NYT 8/2; PCHR 8/3; OCHA 8/9)

Overnight, the 48-hour partial suspension of Israeli air strikes on s. Lebanon goes into effect (2:00 A.M. local time 7/31; 7:00 P.M. ET 7/30). Within hrs., the IDF launches air strikes in support of ground troops in Taybeh, at a Lebanese army jeep traveling nr. Qasmiyya n. of Tyre (based on false information that a senior Hizballah mbr. was in the car, killing 1 Lebanese soldier, wounding 3). The Israeli cabinet also approves plans to “expand and deepen” ground operations in s. Lebanon. With air strikes eased, Lebanese rescue workers begin combing bombed-out cars and destroyed buildings in villages in s. Lebanon, finding at least 49 bodies during the day, but relief agencies report that the IDF is still demanding that aid convoys coordinate their routes with the IDF on a case-by-case basis despite the 24-hr. window for humanitarian operations. The IDF also conducts some air strikes nr. the Syrian border and on Bint Jubayl; continues ground operations in Aita al-Sha‘b, Kafr Kila, Maroun al-Ras. Hizballah launches 3–4 mortars into Kiryat Shimona, but no rockets. The Lebanese government warns that the country has only a few days’ fuel supply remaining and once it runs out, provision of normal health care and relief aid will cease. (Israeli Prime Minister’s Office transcript 7/31; BBC 8/1; NYT, WP, WT 8/1)