Tuesday, July 12, 2005

After mos. of IDF operations in which an Islamic Jihad leader was assassinated on 3/10, another leader survived an attempted assassination on 7/10, and more than 300 cadres were arrested following the 2/25 suicide bombing carried out by a renegade Islamic Jihad mbr., an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber fr. al-Til outside Tulkarm detonates a device outside a mall in Netanya, killing 3 Israelis, wounding up to 48, marking the 1st suicide bombing since 2/25/05 (1st inside Israel since 11/1/04); Islamic Jihad at first denies, then confirms responsibility. Israel suspends all contacts with the PA regarding disengagement, seals the West Bank and Gaza, vows to respond harshly against the group. Abbas states, “We condemn this terrorist attack. It’s a crime against the Palestinian people. Those traitors are working against the Palestinian interest. . . . They did a stupid thing that they should be punished for,” though he notes Islamic Jihad’s denial. At almost the same time as the bombing, a stolen car breaks through the fence of Shavei Shomron settlement in the West Bank and explodes, injuring the driver but causing no other casualties; the IDF says the driver was an Islamic Jihad mbr. who had been working as an informant for Israel; he had been handcuffed to the wheel of the car and the bomb he was carrying was detonated by cell phone, suggesting an attempt to assassinate him for collaboration. The IDF demolishes 2 Palestinian homes built without permits in Issawiyya and Silwan, East Jerusalem, where Israel intends to construct a park; conducts house searches, detains Palestinians for interrogation in Bayt Fajjar nr. Bethlehem. Palestinians detonate aroadside bomb under an IDF jeep outside Netzer Hazani settlement in s. Gaza, injuring 2 soldiers. Masked Palestinian gunmen fire on senior PA Interior Min. Ibrahim Salama as he drives in Ramallah, force his car to stop, severely beat him; no group takes responsibility. (AP, BBC, HA, IMEMC, XIN 7/12; VOI, VOP 7/12 in WNC 7/13; NYT, OCHA, PR, WP, WT, YA 7/13; HA, Interfax, ITAR-TASS, JP, MA, XIN, YA 7/13 in WNC 7/14; PCHR 7/14; al-Safir 7/16 in WNC 7/17; PR 7/20; XIN 7/21)