Saturday, January 24, 2004

The IDF fatally shoots 2 alleged AMB mbrs., both unarmed, who enter a closed military zone in Gaza; sets up 4 new checkpoints on the main road to Qalqilya; fires on residential areas of Rafah; conducts arrest raids in ‘Azun, Khan Yunis. In Hebron, Jewish settlers, Palestinians clash, leaving 3 settlers, 2 Palestinians wounded. Palestinians fire 2 antitank missiles at an IDF patrol nr. Rafah, causing no damage or injuries. (VOI, VOP, YA 1/24 in WNC 1/27; HA, NYT 1/25; PR 1/28; PCHR 1/29)

After 3 yrs. of negotiations via a German mediator, Israel, Hizballah conclude a prisoner swap deal under which Israel will release 401 Palestinian security prisoners, 29 Arab prisoners (including Lebanon’s Shaykh ‘Abd al-Karim Obeid and Mustafa Dirani), the bodies of 59 Lebanese fighters in exchange for captured IDF Col. Elhanan Tennenbaum (res.), the bodies of 3 IDF soldiers. After this 1st phase is completed, Israel, Hizballah will reopen negotiations toward Israel releasing Lebanese prisoner Samir Kantar in exchange for information on downed Israeli pilot Ron Arad. (HA, Israel Television Network 1/24, AFP, MA, MNR, VIRI, VOP, YA 1/25 in WNC 1/27; HA, NYT, WP, WT 1/25; CSM, HA, MM, NYT 1/26; JP 1/27 in WNC 1/29; MM 1/28)