Friday, July 16, 2004

The IDF demolishes 3 brick factories, bulldozes agricultural land in continuing operations in Bayt Hanun; fires on residential areas of Rafah, Tulkarm r.c.; bulldozes 50 dunams of land nr. Jabaliya; conducts arrest raids nr. Tulkarm and in Araba, Qabatya. Armed PRC mbrs. ambush, kidnap Gaza police chief Ghazi Jabali, exchanging gunfire with this bodyguards, wounding 2; parade him through the streets of al-Bureij r.c., accusing him of stealing $22 m. in public funds; release him unharmed. Mbrs. of the Abu Rish Brigades (ARB; a Fatah offshoot) kidnap 4 French citizens, hold them hostage at a Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) office in Khan Yunis for several hrs., demanding that the PA fire corrupt security officials, before releasing them unharmed. Separately, ARB mbrs. kidnap Palestinian security official Khalid Abu al-Ula in Khan Yunis, free him by the end of the day. In the evening, Gaza’s PSF head Rashid Abu Shiblak, Gaza’s General Intelligence chief Amin al-Hindi resign, citing “the state of anarchy and chaos” in Gaza, the PA’s refusal to implement reforms, but Arafat refuses to accept their resignations. (NYT 7/16; VOI 7/16, HJ, VOI 7/17, AYM, HA, MA, al-Ra’i, YA 7/18, SA 7/19 in WNC 7/21; WP, NYT, WT 7/17; AYM 7/18, JP 7/20 in WNC 7/22; MM 7/19; DUS 7/19, AYM 7/20 in WNC 7/23; HA 7/20; NYT, PR 7/21; PCHR, WP 7/22; MEI 7/23; JPI 7/30; PR 8/4; AYM 8/6 in WNC 8/10)