Tuesday, August 1, 2006

The IDF sends troops back into s. Gaza nr. Dahaniyya airport allegedly to look for tunnels; makes air strikes on, shells n. Gaza, killing a 16-yr.-old Palestinian boy, a 24-yr.-old Palestinian woman, wounding 4 other bystanders in Bayt Hanun; makes an air strike destroying the al-Bureij home of a Hamas mbr. (warned by cell phone in advance to evacuate), also damaging 4 nearby homes; shells the Gaza harbor fr. the sea, hitting 2 boats, an office, a car, and a cabin owned by alleged arms smuggler Abbas Bakr, causing no injuries. Palestinians fire 6 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, damaging a home but causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in Hebron. A 13-yr.-old Palestinian girl dies of injuries received in the 7/26 IDF shelling nr. Gaza City. (BBC 8/1; NYT, WP 8/2; PCHR 8/3)

The IDF intensifies ground operations in Lebanon, sending up to 7,000 troops (6 combat brigades) into villages in a zone of the south stretching fr. Aita al-Sha‘b (where 3 IDF soldiers are killed and at least 25 wounded; more than 20 Hizballah mbrs. are reported killed) nr. the center of the southern border, to Bint Jubayl and Maroun al-Ras to the east, and to Taybeh and Kafr Kila to the north where the Litani approaches the Israeli border. The IDF makes a bungled assault on Baalbek in the Biqa‘ Valley, bombing the area, landing troops by helicopter, raiding a hospital (where intelligence reports state Hizballah leader Nasrallah is hiding), clashing with Hizballah mbrs., undertaking house-to-house searches, killing 10 Hizballah mbrs., 24 Lebanese civilians and arresting 5 alleged Hizballah mbrs. (including a local store owner named Hasan Nasrallah), flying them back to Israel; Israel releases the 5 on 8/22. The IDF says it has left intact 2 bridges across the Litani (nr. Tyre in the west, Hasabiyya in the east) so civilians can escape to the north; denies passage to 10 convoys of humanitarian aid, but authorizes at least 2 oil tankers to deliver fuel to Beirut, though without providing guarantees of their safety (without which the ships say they cannot proceed to port). Rescue workers report finding another 39 bodies in villages across s. Lebanon. Hizballah fires 8 rockets, 4 mortars into Nahariya. (BBC 8/1; NYT, WP, WT 8/2; Counterpunch 8/3; NYT 8/23)