Israel Cuts Arafat Links to the World; Clashes Resume Near PA HQ; Israeli Policeman, Two Palestinians Killed in Gunfight
Gunfights resumed in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday afternoon, as Israeli forces managed to arrest two wanted Tanzim activists.
The activists, Abdel Karim Awas and Khader Debayah, are suspected of masterminding several attacks against Israeli targets in the recent past. In addition, the occupation army captured a senior founder of the Fatah movement, Sakher Habash.
Also Saturday, an Israeli border policeman was seriously injured and later died of his wounds in the village of Baka al-Gharbiyeh, close to the West Bank. Two Palestinians in a vehicle tried to cross into Israel. The policemen stopped them, and the Palestinians opened fire, injuring the policeman.
One Palestinian was killed in the ensuing gunfight, and the other was killed when the vehicle they were travelling in exploded.
With a mobile phone his only link to the world, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat remained confined to his three-story office building Saturday by Israeli troops who have cut the electricity and water and taken over the rest of his headquarters compound.
"I can say that the Israelis are just a few meters from President Arafat," said Ribhi Arafat, an aide to the Palestinian leader who also was inside the besieged building. "There are Israeli tanks outside the building and a big number of Israeli soldiers."
With no electricity, Arafat has his staff used candles during the night, reported AP. Arafat's isolation is almost complete. Snipers are said to be surrounding his offices. "They are shelling us continuously," Arafat said in a telephone interview with CNN, during which machine-gun fire could be heard in the background.
Arafat said his people would never give up their fight for an independent state, and that he hoped the Israeli operation would make him a martyr.
Early Saturday morning, Israeli tanks rumbled into the Palestinian town of Beit Jalla, adjacent to Bethlehem, where Christians are observing Easter weekend.
At the United Nations early Saturday, the United States joined other Security Council members in adopting a resolution calling for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian cities. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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