Sunday, July 17, 2005

The IDF continues massing tanks, armored vehicles on the n. Gaza border; Sharon instructs security officials to take “all measures, without restrictions, in order to stop the wave of terrorism,” though his advisers suggest that any push into Gaza likely would not happen until after Condoleezza Rice’s visit on 7/22. An IDF sniper (reportedly firing fr. a nearby Jewish settlement) assassinates senior Hamas cmdr. Sa‘id Siyam (not Shaykh Sa‘id Siyam, the Hamas spokesman) outside his home in Khan Yunis. The IDF also lifts the curfews on Tulkarm and surrounding areas imposed on 7/13; fires missiles at a Palestinian vehicle in Bayt Lahiya, injuring 1 Hamas mbr., injured 2 bystanders in an apparent assassination attempt; fires on stone-throwing youths in Tulkarm, wounding 1; shells residential areas of Khan Yunis; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Ramallah and in ‘Azun, Hebron, Kafr Thuluth, Qalqilya, Saida nr. Tulkarm, Wadi al-Silqa. In retaliation, Hamas fires Qassam rockets into Neve Dekalim (hitting a house, injuring 6 settlers), Sederot (causing no injuries). Israel bars indefinitely all visits to Palestinian prisoners as punishment for the 7/12 Netanya bombing. A Palestinian injured in the IDF assassination of 3 Hamas mbrs. in Salfit on 7/15 dies. (HA, IMEMC, PRCS, XIN 7/17; VOI, VOP, YA 8/17, Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation 7/18 in WNC 7/18; NYT, WP, WT 7/18; XIN 7/18 in WNC 7/19; OCHA, PR 7/20; PCHR 7/21)