Friday, August 4, 2006

The IDF continues operations al-Shuka, making air and artillery strikes on buildings allegedly housing Hamas and Islamic Jihad weapons caches, exchanging fire with Palestinian gunmen, conducting house-tohouse searches, prompting residents to flee, leaving 2 Palestinian civilians, 1 Palestinian militant dead, at least 1 Palestinian wounded. Late in the evening, the IDF expands operations deeper into Rafah, making air strikes on militant targets in heavily residential areas, killing 1 Islamic Jihad mbr., 2 other armed Palestinians, a Palestinian woman and her 2 children, wounding at least 3 Palestinians; also destroys the remaining parts of a PA security barracks. Also in Gaza, the IDF makes an air strike destroying a home in Shatti r.c. nr. Gaza City after warning residents to evacuate. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids in Tulkarm town; patrols in Tulkarm r.c.; conducts random ID checks in Hebron. The IDF also bars Palestinians under age 45 fr. attending Friday prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque. (NYT 8/4; WP 8/5; PCHR 8/10)

The IDF calls up more reservists (no details reported), moves additional artillery to the border with Lebanon; escalates air strikes on s. Beirut (killing at least 1 Lebanese soldier, wounding 2 soldiers, 4 civilians), hitting bridges and roads in Christian areas n. of the capital along the coast for the 1st time (killing a least 5 Lebanese civilians, wounding 19; hitting an 8-truck UN convoy, preventing the movement of other aid convoys south); also strikes targets in s. Lebanon (flattening 2 houses, leaving 50 Lebanese missing) as well as in Baalbek, Hermel, Qana (killing at least 28 farm workers, mostly Syrian Kurds) in the Biqa‘ Valley. Ground operations in s. Lebanon continue, with especially intense fighting in Aita al-Sha‘b, Markaba (where at least 3 IDF soldiers are killed and 1 tank is destroyed), Taybeh. Hizballah fires 195 rockets into n. Israel, hitting Buaineh, Carmiel, Hadera (50 mi. fr. the border, the deepest strike to date), Kiryat Shimona (hit by 60 missiles), Ma’alot, Migdal Hamek, Nahariya, Qunaytra, Safad, Shar Yishuv; killing 4 Israelis (including 3 Druze; 1 in Maghir, 2 in Majd al-Krum) wounding 8. (AP, NYT 8/4; NYT, WP, WT 8/5)