Sunday, September 25, 2005

Overnight, the IDF conducts air strikes on the home of PRC mbr. ‘Amr Qarmut in Jabaliya r.c. in what may be an assassination attempt (causing damage but no injuries), a Hamas-run school in Gaza City (injuring 23 Palestinians), and a cultural center in Bayt Hanun run by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), causing damage but no injuries; arrests 207 Palestinians (mostly Hamas and Islamic Jihad mbrs., including Hamas political leaders Shaykh Hasan Yusuf and Muhammad Ghazzal) in the largest raids across the West Bank since 2/05. During the day, Sharon says that he has given the IDF “free rein” to act against Palestinians firing rockets. The IDF continues to mass troops on the n. Gaza border, breaks the sound barrier over Gaza roughly every 2 hrs., fires artillery shells fr. Nahal Oz into open areas nr. Bayt Hanun as a warning to Palestinians (marking Israel’s 1st shelling of Gaza since 1967); fires missiles fr. F-16s at a car s. of Gaza City, assassinating senior Islamic Jihad leader Muhammad Shaykh Khalil, Islamic Jihad mbr. Nassir Barhum, wounding 4 bystanders. In the evening, Hamas agrees to stop rocket attacks immediately. Later, an IDF helicopter gunship strikes 3 targets in Khan Yunis, including the homes of senior AMB mbrs. Ziyad Abu Hayya and Mahir al-Farra in what may be assassination attempts, causing heavy damage, injuring 17 Palestinians; the IDF says it is targeting AMB arms storage facilities. A 12-yr.-old Palestinian wounded in the 9/23 Jabaliya explosion dies, bringing that toll to at least 16. (AFP, AP, HA, IMEMC, JAZ, WP, WT, XIN, YA 9/25; CSM, HA, IMEMC, JP, NYT, WP, WT 9/26; HA 9/27; AFP, DS, MEI, PCHR 9/29)

Today’s Independent (9/25) reports that a new book by 2 prominent Israeli journalists, Ofer Shelah and Raviv Druker, states that “at a conference of officers as early as May 2001, Shaul Mofaz, now defense minister and then chief of staff, asked for the tape to be switched off before telling them that he wanted a ‘price’ exacted from the Palestinians of 10 killed a day on each of the army’s seven fronts.” The book also reports that after 6 IDF soldiers were killed in an ambush in 3/02, “Mofaz personally ordered a revenge operation in which for the first time [sic—see “Overview of Israeli Military Operations,” Resource File Doc. A, JPS 134] Palestinian police officers would be shot, whether they posed a threat or not.” (Independent 9/25)