Thursday, September 30, 2004

The IDF escalates its n. Gaza incursion, sending troops deep into Jabaliya r.c., occupying several homes as outposts, sparking clashes with Palestinians, shelling and conducting at least 5 air strikes on residential areas, leave at least 27 Palestinians dead (including 15 armed Palestinians; 12 unarmed bystanders, including 10 killed by IDF shelling at an UNRWA school) and more than 131 wounded; 6 IDF soldiers are also wounded. Troops also demolish at least 22 Palestinian homes in Jabaliya to allow better access for military vehicles, occupy a UN school and a PA security office. Palestinian gunmen fatally shoot 2 IDF soldiers, 1 Jewish settler jogger outside Jabaliya nr. Aley Sinai settlement, before being shot dead by troops. In the evening, Sharon’s security cabinet approves a plan, codenamed Days of Penitence, for a major, prolonged ground offensive in n. Gaza. Elsewhere in Gaza, the IDF bulldozes 2 d. of greenhouses and apiaries in Dayr al-Balah; demolishes 2 Palestinian homes, fires on residential areas in Rafah. In the West Bank, the IDF declares the northern and central Jordan Valley a closed military zone; conducts arrest raids, house searches in ‘Azun, Dura, Faqqu’a and Yamun nr. Jenin, Hebron, Qalandia r.c. (AP, HA, MM 9/30; AFP, VOI, VOP 9/30 in WNC 10/2; MM, NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 10/1; QA 10/1 in WNC 10/5; PCHR 10/7)