Palestinian security arrests Hamas leader
Israeli soldiers, Palestinian youths clash in West Bank
March 22, 1997
Web posted at: 8:50 a.m. EST (1350 GMT)
GAZA, West Bank (CNN) -- Palestinian security forces
rearrested a leader of the Islamic group Hamas, hours after
he told thousands of supporters at a rally that violence, not
negotiations, would stop Israel's planned settlement in East
Hamas claimed responsibility for Friday's blast in a downtown
Tel Aviv coffee shop that killed three Israeli women and the
suicide bomber. Over 40 people were injured in the blast.
The explosion at the Apropo Cafe, three days after Israel
broke ground for a Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem,
followed days of warnings by intelligence sources that
militants were planning attacks in Israeli.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Palestinian
President Yasser Arafat for the blast, pointing to the
freeing of Hamas militants who had been arrested after a
spate of suicide bombings killed 59 people last year.
Ibrahim Maqadmeh, a 47-year-old dentist, was one of those
released earlier this month. But Palestinian police took him
back into custody late Friday at his home in the Bureij
refugee camp. Hamas sources said five other members of the
group were arrested, but Palestinian officials did not
confirm those arrests.
Arafat condemned the bombing and telephoned Netanyahu with
his condolences, but the Palestinian's aides said that the
Israeli prime minister's hard-line stance was responsible for
Soldiers use tear gas, rubber bullets
In the wake of the bombing, Israel closed the West Bank and
Gaza Strip, keeping the Palestinians out of Israel. Clashes
between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers continued for a
second day in Hebron, where soldiers used tear gas and rubber
bullets to control angry Palestinians hurling stones and
Along the line between the Israeli and Palestinian sections,
a tense standoff was in place Saturday morning as
Palestinian forces stopped Palestinian youths from
approaching the Israeli soldiers.
At least seven Palestinians have been hurt in the clashes.
In Zurif, the West Bank hometown of the man who bombed the
Tel Aviv coffee shop, Israeli troops maintained a tight
curfew, and reportedly arrested several Hamas activists in
The home of assailant Mohammed Abdel Khader Abu Deiyah was
sealed, according to Israeli radio, and witnesses said
soldiers were preparing to blow it up. Zurif is an Israeli-controlled town.
Radio reports said that Deiyah had an Israeli work permit,
and that he had been arrested several times on suspicion of
being a member of Hamas.
Peace process in danger?
In talks held after Friday's bombing, Israeli security
officials pressed Palestinian authorities to crack down on
Hamas activists. The future of the Mideast peace process,
they said, was at stake.
"The peace process is in jeopardy at this point," said
Netanyahu's communications director David Bar-Illan before
the Palestinians rearrested Maqadmeh. "If the Palestinians do
not do what we are asking them to do by way of fighting
terrorism, it is very doubtful that the process can continue.
Mohammad Dahlan, the Palestinian security chief in Gaza, said
that his forces would do their part, "but Israel has to
understand that for security measures to succeed there must
be peace and the right environment has to prevail."
U.S. Mideast envoy Dennis Ross, who brokered the last round
of agreements between the Israelis and Palestinians, said
that the ongoing Mideast peace efforts had weathered suicide
bombings in the past.
"This is a process that has experienced a lot and somehow it
has endured," he said.
Hamas, Ross said, was ultimately responsible for the
violence, not Arafat or Netanyahu.
Correspondent Jerrold Kessel and Reuters contributed to this report.
- Bomber, 3 women killed in Tel Aviv blast - March 21, 1997
- Palestinians, Israelis clash in Hebron - March 21, 1997
- U.S. again vetoes U.N. resolution on Israeli housing - March 21, 1997
- Jordanian soldier kills 7 Israeli schoolgirls - March 13, 1997
- U.N. condemns Israel's settlement plan - March 13, 1997
- Netanyahu accuses Palestinians of creating 'crisis' - March 11, 1997
- Arafat: Peace process must 'carry on,' despite housing dispute - March 4, 1997
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