Wednesday, March 5, 2003

A Hamas suicide bomber fr. Hebron detonates a device on a bus in Haifa, killing 14 Israelis, 1 American, wounding 40; Israel seals the West Bank and Gaza borders until further notice, vows to respond “but not [on] a scale that would disrupt any U.S. preparations for a possible attack on Iraq.” Overnight, Palestinians also reportedly fire 13 antitank missiles and grenades at IDF forces on the Rafah border, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF demolishes 1 Palestinian home in Nablus, 1 in Qalqilya, a mosque in Rafah r.c. that had been heavily damaged in earlier attacks; conducts arrest raids in Bethlehem, Qalqilya (targeting Fatah), Ramallah (nabbing senior Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades mbr. Abdallah Barghouti), Yamun; fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis. Late in the evening, the IDF launches a major raid into Jabaliya r.c., sending in 50 tanks and helicopters, firing several missiles, killing 3 Palestinians, wounding 11; fatally shoots Islamic Jihad mbr. Muhammad al-‘Asas in an exchange of gunfire in Bethlehem, leaving 1 IDF soldier wounded. A Jerusalem court sentences Israeli Arab Murad Ajluni to life plus 20 yrs. for taking part in a 3/02 AMB shooting in Tel Aviv that left 3 Israelis dead. (HA 3/5; Interfax, VOI 3/5 in WNC 3/6; HA, MM, NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 3/6; MA 3/6 in WNC 3/7; HA 3/7; LAW, PR 3/13; PCHR 3/13; JPI 3/14)