Israel foils new bomb attack
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli forces prevented a vehicle filled with explosives from entering Israel from the West Bank city of Qalqilya, the Israel Defense Forces said.
An Israeli reserve force spotted the car about to leave Qalqilya -- located on the border with Israel -- on Friday night and fired into the air, prompting the driver to stop. Everyone inside the car ran into the city, the IDF said.
Saturday morning, Israeli police searched the car and found four large explosive devices, three gas canisters containing flammable materials and another three canisters filled with nails and other sharp metal objects, according to the IDF.
Meanwhile it was revealed that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell this week reiterating Palestinian reform efforts while urging him to pressure Israel to take reciprocal steps, a State Department official said.
Arafat lists in the lengthy letter a variety of steps already under way to bring about reform, including announcing elections.
In return, Arafat called on Powell to use U.S. clout to "pressure Israel" to take reciprocal steps, such as releasing Palestinian tax revenue, withdrawing from Palestinian territory and easing closures, officials said Friday.
While the officials were not sure if Powell plans to respond to Arafat's letter, they said there "wasn't much of a chance" in light of President Bush's speech last month calling for a change in Palestinian leadership.
One official said it was "not wise" for Arafat to make demands of Israel considering that Bush put the onus on Arafat to make significant reforms.
Powell is scheduled to travel on Tuesday to New York to hold a meeting with the so-called Madrid Quartet -- made up of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia -- and the foreign ministers of Egypt and Jordan.
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