Thursday, October 17, 2002

The IDF directs shells, heavy machine gun fire at residential areas of Rafah r.c., killing 6 Palestinians (including 2 women, 2 teenagers, a 9-yr.-old girl) and wounding 50; the IDF says it was responding to Palestinian gunfire on an IDF bulldozer working build an observation tower with an overview of the camp, causing no injuries. The IDF also bulldozes 2.5 dunams of Palestinian land and an irrigation system nr. Tulkarm; conducts arrest raids in Tal; shells, destroys a closed Palestinian summer resort nr. Aley Sinai settlement. The IDF removes Jewish settlers, trailers fr. Havat Gilad; late in the evening, some 300 Jewish settlers retake the site. Settlers voluntarily leave a 2d enclave, allowing the IDF to dismantle it, bringing to 22 the number of enclaves removed in recent days. Jewish settlers assault Palestinians, Israeli peace activists attempting to harvest olives nr. Yasuf village; the IDF presses settlers to leave the area, allow harvesting to continue. Jewish setters nr. Hebron confiscate 90 dunams of Palestinian land. A PA security court sentences 1 Palestinian, a fmr. Hamas mbr., to death for collaborating with Israel. (REU 10/17; HA, MM, NYT, WP, WT 10/18; AFP, al-Quds 10/18 in WNC 10/21; WP 10/19; LAW, PCHR 10/23; MEI 10/25; JPI 11/8)

A fmr. U.S. defense official corroborates rumors that Israeli special forces recently conducted a covert reconnaissance mission in w. Iraq to determine Iraq's capacity to strike Israel with Scud missiles. Military analyst and fmr. Pentagon official Anthony Cordesman says that Baghdad is estimated to have only 12+n25 Scuds; by comparison, during the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq fired 39 Scuds at Israel alone. (WP 10/18) (see 9/29)