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Israelis strike Arafat's guard unit's headquarters

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Syria warns Israel will pay 'heavy price'

Attacks on two fronts


GAZA (CNN) -- Israel went on the offensive against guerrilla attacks Monday, twice striking sites in Palestinian-controlled Gaza and also attacking a Syrian radar position in Lebanon.

Syria denounced Monday's radar attack as a "dangerous escalation" of Mideast violence, while the United States urged all sides to "exercise maximum restraint."

Israeli helicopter gunships late Monday attacked Palestinian targets in central Gaza, including the headquarters of Yasser Arafat's elite bodyguard unit, Palestinian sources said. At least two police officers were wounded in that attack.

CNN's Jerrold Kessel reports on the timing of the raid

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CNN's Brent Sadler has more on the unrest in the Mideast

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Israeli government spokesman Dori Gold: Syria has been giving a green light to Hezbollah.

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kessel CNN's Jerrold Kessel: Lebanese PM calls it an act of Israeli aggression
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Israeli military sources confirmed that Israel is attacking military targets in Gaza by air.

Earlier, Israeli tanks lobbed shells into the village of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza in retaliation for five mortar shells that landed near the southern Israeli town of Sderot in the Negev Desert, some three miles from the border.

Two Palestinian police officers were killed in the Israeli shelling.

Palestinian Authority Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo had denied that the mortar shells that landed near Sderot had been fired by any group connected to the Palestinian Authority and said the incident should not fuel "further aggression."

The new assaults on Gaza were the second time in a week that Israel had launched attacks on land under full Palestinian control.

Syria warns Israel will pay 'heavy price'

Meanwhile, the Syrian government warned that Israel would pay a "heavy price" for the attack of its radar station in Lebanon.

The Syrian facility was east of Beirut, on the main road between the Lebanese capital and the Syrian capital, Damascus. Syrian troops were put on high alert in the aftermath of the air strikes.

Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri said Israel's military action was "a dangerous attack on both Syria and Lebanon."

He warned against any further Israeli decisions to widen the "circle of tension" in the area, calling on the international community to move quickly in order to contain such tension before it takes on dangerous dimensions.

Israel said the early morning attack, which killed as many as three Syrian soldiers, was a response to Syrian-backed guerrilla attacks on Israeli forces.

"We have no intentions of drawing Syria into this conflict. Syria has drawn itself into this conflict. We have no intentions of escalating and we will do everything necessary to avoid a confrontation with Syrians," said Alon Pinkas, the Israeli Consul of New York. "But the Syrians have to understand that a policy has a price."

Israel wants Syria to control Hezbollah guerrillas, who regularly launch attacks on Israeli targets -- particularly those in the disputed Shebaa Farms region near the occupied Golan Heights.

An Israeli soldier was killed Saturday when Hezbollah guerrillas targeted an Israel Defense Forces tank in the area.

The United States on Monday condemned the Hezbollah for provoking the escalation of violence with Saturday's attack but urged all sides to stop the violence.

"We had a clear provocation across the green line by Hezbollah. And that kind of activity needs to be stopped and everybody with influence on that kind of activity needs to push to stop it," U.S. State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher said.

Attacks on two fronts

Israeli military officials said the Palestinian attacks, combined with the Hezbollah attacks from Lebanon, left them to engage in confrontation on two separate fronts.

Sharon's Security Cabinet approved the attack on the Syrian facility with an 11-2 vote, with only former Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Transportation Minister Ephraim Sneh, both members of the Labor Party, voting against the raid into Lebanon.

Israel condemns what it sees as continued attacks on its territory and citizens, launched out of Lebanon. Nearly a year ago, Israel withdrew its troops from a self-imposed security zone in southern Lebanon, but Hezbollah has kept up its attacks because of Shebaa Farms, a triangle of land at the foot of the Golan Heights bordered by Syria, Lebanon and Israel.

Senior officers visit a Syrian man injured during the Israeli airstrike
Senior officers visit a Syrian man injured during the Israeli airstrike  

Syria and Lebanon say the land belongs to Lebanon and that until it is returned, Israel has not complied with its promise to withdraw from Lebanon.

But Israel -- along with the United Nations -- contends that Israel seized the area during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war from Syria, and its fate can only be determined in talks with that nation.

Since May 24, 2000, when Israel withdrew from south Lebanon, there have been eight attacks by Hezbollah guerrillas on the Israeli army at the border. Three Israeli soldiers died, and three soldiers and one Israeli civilian were kidnapped.

CNN correspondents Mike Hanna and Jerrold Kessel contributed to this report.

Israel retaliates for Hezbollah attack
April 14, 2001

Lebanese Armed Forces
Lebanese Presidential Palace
Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Israeli Prime Minister's Office
Knesset, Israeli Parliament
Israel Defense Forces
Permanent Mission of Israel to the U.N.

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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