Monday, August 14, 2006

In Gaza, the IDF conducts air strikes destroying the Jabaliya r.c. home of an Islamic Jihad mbr. accused of firing rockets into Israel (residents are warned in advance to evacuate, but 14 bystanders are injured, 11 nearby houses damaged), the Bayt Hanun home of a PRC mbr. thought to be holding a weapons cache (residents are warned in advance to evacuate, but 1 bystander is injured); shells a group of Palestinian civilians nr. Bayt Hanun attempting to cart away a disused rocket launcher to sell as scrap, killing 3 Palestinian civilians, wounding 3; conducts arrest raids, house searches in al-Shuka;. Palestinians fire 4 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in, fires on residential areas of Araba and Fahma, both nr. Jenin, deliberately damaging 35 water tanks atop homes in Fahma; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Qalqilya, nr. Jenin, in and around Hebron, Nablus; begins bulldozing 250 d. of agricultural land nr. Qalqilya for construction of the separation wall (see 8/10). Jewish settlers fr. Mitzvah Lakhish, Negohot settlements nr. Hebron (escorted by the IDF) bulldoze at least 100 d. of neighboring Palestinian land. Unidentified Palestinian gunmen (suspected PRC mbrs.) kidnap 2 Fox News journalists (1 American reporter, 1 cameraman fr. New Zealand) in Gaza City; no group takes responsibility or issues demands; Hamas condemns the action. (WP, WT 8/15; NYT, WP 8/16; PCHR 8/17; Roadmap Risk Assessment [Jerusalem] 8/19)

Overnight, the IDF continues air strikes on s. Beirut and in the Biqa‘ Valley, killing at least 7 Lebanese, while Hizballah fires rockets into n. Israel. Minutes before the 8:00 A.M. local (1:00 A.M. ET) truce deadline, violence quiets. During the day, 10,000s of Lebanese displaced by the fighting begin returning to their homes to assess damage, although IDF warnings on vehicular movement in s. Lebanon remain in place; 1,000s of Lebanese begin returning fr. Syria. In a televised address, Nasrallah promises Lebanese that Hizballah will provide funds to rebuild; on the ground Hizballah mbrs. in areas of s. Lebanon and s. Beirut take charge of clean-up and rescue efforts, with the help of Lebanese civil defense teams and army units. During the day, Hizballah holds its fire, whereas the IDF fires on groups of Hizballah mbrs. in 5 incidents, killing at least 5 Hizballah mbrs. it claims posed an immediate threat (permissible defensive action under UN Res. 1701); flies drones around s. Lebanon, monitoring the situation. At least 5 Lebanese civilians are killed by accidentally detonating unexploded IDF ordnance. (WP 8/14; NYT, WP, WT 8/15)