Israel attacks Arafat compound

  • From: "Muslim News" <editor@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2002 09:41:14 -0000

 Israeli tank
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1900000/images/_1900278_ramallah300.jpg> 
Israeli tanks moved into Ramallah at dawn

More than 20 Israeli tanks moved into the West Bank town of Ramallah
early on Friday, surrounding the offices of Palestinian leader Yasser
Arafat. 


  <http://news.bbc.co.uk/furniture/startquote.gif> 


Arafat is the enemy and he will be isolated 
  <http://news.bbc.co.uk/furniture/endquote.gif> 


Ariel Sharon 
Tanks and army bulldozers have smashed through the perimeter of the
compound, where the Palestinian leader has been confined for months. 

One of Mr Arafat's advisers inside the compound said gun battles were
going on between Israeli troops and Mr Arafat's bodyguards, some of whom
had been wounded. 


The move came after an all-night cabinet meeting decided to "completely
isolate" Mr Arafat. Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, declared him
an enemy. 


'Terror' 


The offensive is the first military reaction to two Palestinian attacks
in two days - a suicide bombing in Netanya on Wednesday, which left 20
dead, and an attack on a Jewish settlement on Thursday, in which four
Israelis died. 


 Israeli tank in Ramallah
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1900000/images/_1900278_tank150.jpg> 
An Israeli tank points its barrel at Yasser Arafat's compound

Four people are reported to have been killed in the Israeli onslaught on
Ramallah, but rescue teams say they cannot get to the central square in
the town where there are believed to be other casualties. 


Israel Radio said an army officer had been killed in the fighting. 


Mr Sharon said Israeli efforts to make peace had been met with "terror,
terror and more terror". 


He also said widespread action would be taken to isolate Mr Arafat's
Palestinian Authority wherever it was believed to be fostering a
"terrorist infrastructure". 


The Palestinian leader responded defiantly to the attack on his
headquarters, saying the Palestinians would never give up their fight
for an independent state. 


Gaza tense 


In a telephone interview with Qatar-based al-Jazeera satellite
television he said he had contacted US officials to ask them to
intervene to prevent an eruption of violence across the Middle East. 


"This is the Israeli response to every attempt to make peace because
they do not want peace," Mr Arafat said. 



  <http://news.bbc.co.uk/furniture/startquote.gif> 


No Palestinian and no one in the Arab nation will surrender or kneel 
  <http://news.bbc.co.uk/furniture/endquote.gif> 


Yasser Arafat 
As well as housing Mr Arafat's West Bank headquarters, Ramallah is the
area's commercial and political centre, and its most populous city. 

It also houses the bulk of the Palestinian Authority's (PA) security
forces and police 


Earlier on Friday, two Israelis were killed in an attack by Palestinian
militants on the Jewish settlement of Netzarim inside the Gaza Strip. 


US plan 


Correspondents say the atmosphere in Gaza is tense, with many people
staying off the streets. 




 Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1900000/images/_1900108_sharon150.jpg> 
Sharon held a late-night meeting with ministers

The Gaza Strip itself remains cut in three places after Israeli patrols
closed the major roads of the territory on Thursday. 

Also on Thursday, Mr Arafat said he had informed the US envoy, Anthony
Zinni, that he was ready to start implementing an American plan on how a
ceasefire would work. 


He said the Palestinians were committed to the peace plan drawn up by
former US Senator George Mitchell, and the Tenet plan, drafted by the
CIA chief George Tenet. 


The Palestinians and Israelis disagree about how the Tenet security plan
should work, and General Zinni has been mediating in an attempt to bring
the sides closer together. 


But Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Melchior said there was
nothing new in what Mr Arafat said.

Source: BBC online

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