Tuesday, February 4, 2003

The IDF arrests 17 Islamic Jihad mbrs. in Hebron; claims they planned, carried out anti-Israeli attacks on orders fr. their “headquarters” in Syria; says it is still searching for the cell leader Diab Suwayki, whom it has tried to assassinate twice. The IDF also demolishes 5 Palestinian homes in, fires on residential areas of Rafah; demolishes a Palestinian home in Bayt Furik; raids 2 buildings in Ramallah containing medical and law offices, destroying furniture, files; fires on stone-throwing Palestinians in Tulkarm, seriously injuring a 13-yr.-old Palestinian; shells residential areas of Khan Yunis r.c.; confiscates 76 Palestinian taxis operating on the Ramallah+nJerusalem road (see 1/20); conducts arrest raids in Balata r.c., Jenin, Nablus. A Hamas gunman ambushes, lightly wounds a Jewish settler nr. Dayr al-Balah; in response, the IDF demolishes 4 Palestinian homes, bulldozes 31 dunams of land nr. Kefar Darom. The IDF says it has noticed increased efforts by the PA to halt the firing of Qassam missiles and planting of bombs in Gaza; says the PA stepped up efforts before elections, but has continued them after elections as well. An Israeli court orders Arafat, the PA to pay more than $10 m. in damages to Israel's Egged bus company for losses caused by Palestinian suicide bombings. (AP, HA, PM, REU 2/4; LAW, PCHR, PR, WP, WT 2/5; TJT, WJW 2/6)