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Israel arrests 6 from Arafat's elite force

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli authorities arrested six members of Yasser Arafat's police guard Sunday as Israelis and Palestinians buried children killed in recent clashes.

An Israeli source told CNN the arrests came at a Palestinian checkpoint near Ramallah, in the West Bank. All those taken into custody by Israeli special forces were members of the elite Force 17, which provides personal security for Arafat, the Palestinian Authority's president.

Israeli officials targeted buildings belonging to the unit in helicopter and artillery strikes Wednesday, saying intelligence reports indicated the group was involved in the escalating six-month-old Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat denounced the arrests, calling them "part of the Israeli escalation plan," The Associated Press reported. Gideon Ezra, Israel's deputy internal security minister, said "middle-rank officials" who supply materials for attacks could be targets, AP reported.

CNN's Ben Wedeman reports on Israel's toughened policy on dealing with Palestinian uprisings

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CNN's Jerold Kessel: Peaceful protest in Galilee

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CNN's Ben Wedeman: Violence in Ramallah

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CNN's Mike Hanna: Arafat not welcome in Washington

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Some Palestinian leaders told the AP they were taking greater security precautions. Palestinians accuse Israel of killing at least a dozen activists since the uprising began in late September.

Overall, more than 400 people -- mostly Palestinians -- have been killed since the fighting began.

After a day of vows for revenge and a massive funeral procession for six Palestinians killed in fighting Friday, a quiet funeral was held Sunday for an 11-year-old Palestinian boy who died of wounds Saturday.

Mohammed Tamini was shot and wounded during a clash between Israelis and Palestinians on March 15. He was buried quietly near Ramallah.

In Hebron, meanwhile, Jewish settlers held services for a 10-month-old girl killed by a sniper's bullet earlier this week.

Jewish settlers had said they would not bury the baby -- killed on Monday -- until Israel captured the Palestinian-populated hill from where the gunfire originated. While Israel has not met the demand, the baby was buried Sunday to give her family the usual seven-day Jewish mourning period before the Passover holiday.

Local rabbi Dov Lior urged Israel's government to "avenge her blood ... which has been shed by dark villains," AP reported.

Israeli troops watched over the funeral procession through the center of divided Hebron as a curfew kept Palestinians inside. Some Israeli youths used rocks to break windows of Palestinian houses.

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The Israeli Prime Minister's Office
Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Palestinian National Authority
Israel Defense Forces

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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