Tuesday, August 19, 2003

A Palestinian suicide bomber fr. Hebron detonates a device on a bus in West Jerusalem, killing 15 Israelis, 5 Americans, wounding more than 100 (13 seriously, 13 moderately), and violating a unilateral 3-mo. Palestinian cease-fire declared on 6/29. (Initially, Islamic Jihad claims responsibility, and Hamas denies it. After the bomber is identified as a known Hamas mbr., Hamas accepts responsibility but says it still adheres tothe cease-fire, this was a 1-time action to retaliate for the 8/14 IDF assassination of Islamic Jihad Hebron cmdr. Muhammad Sidr. Analysts suggest the bombing may be a joint operation or the work of a Hamas offshoot.) PA PM Mahmud Abbas, whois meeting with Islamic Jihad leaders at the time tourge them toextend the cease-fire to 6 mos., breaks off the mtg., denounces the attack, cancels cease-fire talks with Hamas scheduled for 8/20. Israel suspends further talks on a transfer of territory to PA control. The IDF sends tanks, troops into Hebron, surrounding villages to conduct searches, arrest raids; demolishes 4 Palestinian homes in Jabal Mukabir in East Jerusalem; fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis. Israeli authorities demolish an Israeli Arab home in Lod, the 40th to be demolished in 2003; the Prime Minister’s Office reports that Israel has also demolished 117 bedouin homes in the Negev this yr. In Nablus, a shootout btwn. rival AMB factions fr. Nablus, Balata r.c. leaves 1 AMB mbr. dead. (HA, JP, MM 8/19; MENA 8/19 in WNC 8/21; HA, MM, NYT, WP, WT 8/20; IDF Radio, Interfax, ITAR-TASS, JP, MA, MENA, VOI, YA 8/20 in WNC 8/22; MM, PCHR, WJW 8/21; QA, al-Quds 8/21 in WNC 8/23; al-Ra’i 8/21, AYM, al-Ra’i 8/22 in WNC 8/26; JPI 8/22; JPI, MM 8/29)