Thursday, November 18, 2004
IDF fatally shoots 3 Egyptian border policemen on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border whom they assumed were armed Palestinians attempting to plant a bomb or infiltrate the border; Israeli PM Ariel Sharon immediately phones Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak, issues a public
statement apologizing for the “tragic” accident, vows an investigation. Nonetheless, Egypt postpones to early 12/04 a visit to Israel by Egyptian envoy Omar Sulayman, FM Ahmad Abu al-Ghayt that was set to begin on 11/24. The IDF raids a Birzeit University dorm, detains 4 students, orders them to collect their belongings, handcuffs and blindfolds them, places them in military detention. The IDF also releases Hamas political leader Hassan Yusuf, who has been held in administrative detention for 2 yrs.; Yusuf—a Ramallah resident and one of the 400 Hamas mbrs. deported by Israel to Lebanon in 1990, became Hamas’s senior West Bank political leader in 8/01 andwas arrested during Operation Defensive Shield in 4/02—advocates Hamas participation in all levels of Palestinian elections and is seen as a leading moderate in the movement. An IDF sniper shoots, seriously wounds wanted Hamas mbr. Ghanim al-Hashash as he leaves a Rafah mosque in an apparent attempted assassination. The IDF rescues, arrests 5 Palestinians trapped in a collapsed smuggler’s tunnel on the Rafah-Egypt border; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Bayt Iqsa e. of Jerusalem, Duha nr. Bethlehem, Yatta; fires on residential areas in and nr. Nablus, Rafah. Armed Jewish settlers fr. Dotem settlement ambush, stone Palestinian cars in nearby Tubas. (AP, BBC, MM 11/18; HA, MENA, VOI, VOP 11/18 in WNC 11/20; MM, NYT, WP, WT 11/19; VOI 11/19 in WNC 12/4; HA 11/21; CSM 11/22; PR 11/24; PCHR 11/25; PR 12/22)