"On January 3, 2002, Israel seized a Palestinian-commanded freighter in the Red Sea carrying 50 tons of Iranian-supplied arms. On January 9, after over three weeks without an Israeli fatality, HAMAS killed four Israeli Arab soldiers after infiltrating an army post in Gaza in retaliation for Israel's seizure of the ship. In response, Israeli forces destroyed 54 homes in a Gaza refugee camp, tore up the runway at Gaza airport, and fired missiles at a Palestinian naval base in Gaza. The U.S. State Department supported Israel's efforts at self-defense but not the destruction of homes.Numerous events followed, including the suspected Israeli 'targeted killing' of a Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades leader in Nablus. Israel resumed its blockade of Tulkarm and demolished nine homes in East Jerusalem; two Israeli civilians and an Israeli Arab were murdered on the West Bank. Israel reimposed a blockade on West Bank cities, and on January 17, its forces killed another senior member of the Martyrs Brigades. On January 17, a Martyrs Brigade gunman killed six Israelis and wounded 33 at a bat mitzvah celebration in Hadera, Israel. Israeli forces then struck Palestinian targets in the West Bank, causing many civilian injuries, and tightened the encirclement of Ramallah, where Arafat remains confined. On January 19, Israeli troops blew up the Voice of Palestine radio station in Ramallah. They temporarily reoccupied Tulkarm, where the Hadera gunman was said to have originated, detained 18 there for questioning, and raided what they said was a HAMAS bomb factory in Nablus, killing four. On January 23, a Martyrs Brigade gunman opened fire in downtown Jerusalem, killing 2 and wounding 14."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB91137
U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/