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>JN Oct. 13, 2000, Vol. 8, No. 176
Israel Rockets Arafat's Compound
Israel Faxx Staff Report
Palestinian chief Yasir Arafat's seaside residential compound in
Gaza City was rocketed Thursday by Israeli helicopters in
retaliation for the murder of three Israeli soldiers by a
Palestinian lynch mob in the West Bank town of Ramallah.
Arafat reportedly was inside the compound when one rocket struck
150 feet away.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said Arafat himself was never a
target in the helicopter attacks.
A smiling Arafat emerged and was cheered by hundreds of
Palestinians. He then went to the Gaza sites hit by the rockets.
Arafat told reporters, "Our people don't care, and don't hesitate
to continue their march to Jerusalem, their capital of the
independent Palestinian state."
A senior Palestinian official, Saeb Erakat, told the Associated
Press, "This is a declaration of war - a crazy war." Barak said
Arafat "does not appear to be a partner for peace at this time."
The three reservists were traveling in a civilian car when they
made a wrong turn and wound up in Ramallah. about 10 miles from
Jerusalem. They were chased by Palestinians and asked for shelter
in the Ramallah police station. When local Arabs heard about the
Israelis, more than 1,000 headed for the police station.
Some Arabs broke through a second-floor window where the Israelis
were held. The attackers soon emerged with blood-covered hands as
the crowd roared with approval.
AP reported that the body of one Israeli soldier was thrown into
the street, and a second was dangled down by a rope, where the
corpse was stomped and beaten with iron bars. Both bodies were
soaked in blood.
Barak told reporters that Arafat was indirectly responsible
for the lynching of the soldiers, and added that Israel would find
"The brutal lynching in Ramallah is a very grave incident," said
Israel's acting foreign minister, Shlomo Ben-Ami. "More than just
escalating the explosive situation, the event shows a lack of
respect for human life."
Israeli Missiles Hit Ramallah
By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israeli combat helicopters fired rockets at targets in the West
Bank town of Ramallah after Palestinian demonstrators killed two
Israeli soldiers who were in custody there.
Black columns of smoke rose from the city and a Palestinian
police station. Israeli army tanks moved into position on the
outskirts of the town.
Earlier, an angry mob of Palestinian protestors stormed a police
station in Ramallah where Israeli soldiers had been taken into
custody. An Israeli Army source said the soldiers had been detained by
Palestinian police, and confirmed that two were killed.
When word spread the soldiers had been captured, hundreds of
Palestinians surrounded the police station where they were being
held. People in the crowd stormed the station, killed the soldiers
and threw their bodies from a second-floor window.
The Israeli army source says the soldiers were reservists who
strayed into Ramallah by mistake. Palestinians say they were
disguised as Arabs and were members of a special undercover unit.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak called the attack "very grave,"
and canceled all appointments.
Efforts Resume to Free IDF Soldiers Captured by Hizbullah
By Edward Yeranian (VOA-Beirut)
Diplomats intensified efforts Thursday to secure the release of
three Israeli soldiers captured by Hizbullah guerrillas Saturday,
and defuse the current crisis between Lebanon and Israel.
UN Secretary General Koffi Annan and Iranian Foreign Minister
Kamal Kharazi were in Beirut to help negotiate. Kharazi, who
arrived from Damascus late Wednesday, said initially that Hizbullah
was demanding "the liberation of all prisoners and hostages being
held by Israel" in exchange for the three Israeli soldiers taken
captive by the Lebanese-based guerrillas.
Iran's foreign minister told journalists that exact terms of the
exchange were up to Hizbullah, but that Iran also seeks the release
of two Iranian diplomats, a journalist, and their driver, captured
in Lebanon in 1982. Meanwhile, Koffi Annan met with Lebanese
President Emile Lahoud, repeating UN demands that Beirut deploy its
army on the border with Israel to prevent further crisis.
Annan told journalists that Hizbullah's capture of the three
Israeli soldiers was a violation of the Blue Line, which separates
Lebanon from Israel and was drawn by the UN after Israel withdrew
from southern Lebanon last May.
"I have made it clear from the beginning that we will report
violations regardless of who violated it. Our information is that
the Blue Line, that those who picked up the three soldiers crossed
the Blue Line and it is a violation."
The Secretary General added that so far no one has visited the
three Israelis, but Hizbullah should allow the International Red
Cross or UN personnel to visit them without any conditions.
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