Israel threatens raids in Palestinian-ruled areas
Arrests made after Jerusalem suicide bombings
July 31, 1997
Web posted at: 9:12 a.m. EDT (1312 GMT)
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli security forces entered several West Bank villages under their control Thursday and arrested Hamas activists and family members in the wake of Wednesday's double suicide bombing that killed 15 people in Jerusalem. Israel also threatened to conduct raids in Palestinian-controlled areas.
The army said Israeli security forces had arrested 28 Palestinians overnight in the West Bank in connection with "hostile terrorist activities." Hamas, an Islamic group opposed to PLO-Israeli peace deals, claimed responsibility in a leaflet.
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A second Hamas leaflet cited by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz said Hamas would carry out more attacks if Palestinian prisoners were not released by Sunday.
All arrests and raids were carried out in Palestinian villages still under Israeli occupation. But Israel also threatened to send security forces into Palestinian-controlled areas to arrest militants if Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat failed to act decisively.
"Israel will have to go into the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, if that is necessary, and get the terrorists there," said David Bar-Ilan, an adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"We are not going to respect any lines," Bar-Illan said. "The whole world recognizes the right of governments to protect their citizens."
Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath said that if Israeli forces entered self-rule zones, it would be "a declaration of war against us."
The Palestinians, he said, told Israel they were ready to take joint security action, but "we want to know whether the Israelis are going to cooperate or if they are going to reoccupy Palestinian territory."
Israeli soldiers stormed into Dahariya, a village near the West Bank city of Hebron, and arrested nine members of two Palestinian families whose sons, both Islamic militants, have been missing for 15 months, relatives said.
It was not immediately clear if the missing pair were the two suicide bombers who blew themselves up seconds apart in a Jerusalem produce market on Wednesday. The two suicide bombers were among the 15 who died. Funerals for some of the Jewish victims were held on Thursday.
Israel distributed photographs of the mutilated faces of the two men believed to be the bombers. Public Security Minister Avigdor Kahalani said they were Palestinians in their early 20s.
In the Jenin area, in the north of the West Bank, soldiers arrested two activists belonging to Hamas.
In Qossin, a village near Nablus, the army arrested 15 Palestinians from one family early on Thursday but later released 10 of them.
In a further crackdown, Israel issued an arrest warrant for Brig. Gen. Ghazi Jabali, chief of the Palestinian police, who Israel accuses of sending three policemen to shoot at Jewish settlers in Dahariya earlier this month, an official in Netanyahu's office said.
Palestinian police set up new checkpoints and checked cars in the West Bank town of Bethlehem -- the town in which a Hamas bomb factory was uncovered earlier this month. But Jibril Rajoub, Arafat's West Bank security chief, said Thursday that Palestinian police had not yet made any arrests because they did not know who carried out the market bombings.
"The Israeli government is responsible for the attack because of their crazy and irresponsible policies," Rajoub said on the Voice of Palestine radio.
In other developments related to Wednesday's suicide bombings:
Israeli radio reported about 70 of more than 150 wounded in the attack at the Mahane Yehuda market remained hospitalized on Thursday.
The market reopened Thursday morning. The deadly explosions, which also damaged 60 stalls and 10 apartments, led some Israeli shopowners to argue whether Palestinians working at the market should be fired.
Israel asked the United States and other nations to suspend aid to the Palestinian Authority.
Israel imposed a closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, barring tens of thousands of Palestinians from jobs in Israel. The closure was tougher than usual, restricting Palestinians' movements even between autonomous towns in the West Bank.
Netanyahu suspended peace talks with the Palestinians, which the two sides had only this week agreed to resume after a four-month hiatus.
U.S. President Clinton postponed a visit by special envoy Dennis Ross, who was supposed to preside over the resumption of the talks.
Correspondent Jerrold Kessel and Reuters contributed to this report.
Related sites:Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
- Jerusalem Terrorist bombing Attack - from The Israel Internet Terrorism Hot Line
- The Jerusalem Post Daily Internet Edition - Israel's English-language newspaper
- Virtual Jerusalem: News - daily news from Israeli newspapers, radio and other independent news sources.
- Palestine Times - a monthly political English newspaper that contains the Palestine news, world news, interviews and analysis
- Palestinian National Authority Official Website - news and information about Palestine's history, culture, economy, tourism, religion, and the Middle East peace process
- The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Islamic Association for Palestine - a non-profit organization dedicated to working towards a fair, just and comprehensive solution to the problem of Palestine
- IRIS: Information Regarding Israel's Security - a repository for information, maps and pictures that explain and demonstrate Israel's legitimate security needs
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