Sharon blames Arafat for suicide attacks
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon blamed Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat Monday for three weekend suicide bombings and subsequent Israeli air raids on Palestinian targets, saying "a war of terrorism" had been imposed on his country.
"Arafat is responsible for everything that is happening here," Sharon said in a televised address following Israeli airstrikes against targets in the West Bank and Gaza, including the headquarters of Arafat's guard units.
The strikes were a response to the suicide bombings in Jerusalem and Haifa over the weekend that killed 25 Israelis and three suicide bombers.
Sharon said the purpose of terrorists and their backers was to "make us desperate, to make us lose hope, to make us lose the national vision that leads us."
But that will not happen, he said.
"This will not be an easy war; this war will not be a short war, but we shall win," Sharon said.
Sharon said the full Israeli Cabinet would meet Monday night to discuss the situation. Israeli government sources said a decision would be made then about what action the Israeli government would take.
"We should pursue those who are responsible for terrorism, those who carry it out, those who order it," he said. "We shall pursue them until we capture them, and they will pay the price."
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said Sharon had issued a declaration of war.
"He is saying, 'War, war, war now, peace later.' I think he is making the mistake of his life," said Erakat, who called on the United States and European leaders to "stop Sharon."
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