Israel Occupies Arafat HQ in Ramallah; Suicide Bombing Attack in Jerusalem: Two Israelis Killed
Israeli troops stormed Yasser Arafat's headquarters Friday afternoon and shelled a building where the Palestinian leader took cover in a windowless room.
Israeli troops took control of most of the buildings in the complex. An Israeli military spokesman said that the troops carried out a room-to-room search of the compound, and arrested at least 70 people, who were questioned by Israeli security forces.
Earlier, Arafat's office came under heavy Israeli fire, as part of an Israeli raid of the Palestinian leader's headquarters in Ramallah. Arafat's aides said the situation was very volatile.
Arafat huddled with his closest advisers in a ground-floor room of the three-story building. With a submachine gun placed next to him on a table, he spoke by phone to world leaders and demanded immediate international intervention.
"They want me under arrest or in exile or dead, but I am telling them, I prefer to be martyred," Arafat said in a telephone interview with Al-Jazeera, the Arab satellite television channel. "May God make us martyrs."
This Israeli attack came after a huge blast hit an Israeli supermarket in Jerusalem Friday noon. Two Israelis were killed and scores were , six of them seriously.
Israeli police said a Palestinian female suicide bomber blew herself up in the Jerusalem's neighborhood of Kiryat Yovel supermarket. Israel Radio reported that mortar shells that were part of the bomb remained in the supermarket after the attack.
Fatah's al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for this bombing attack.
Before the Jerusalem attack, the Palestinian Authority called on Palestinians to confront Israeli forces which smashed their way into Yasser Arafat's presidential compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
"The Palestinian leadership calls on the sons of our Palestinian people to close and organise its ranks and to confront the forces of occupation and invasion with all its might and solid will," the Palestinian Authority said in a statement sent to Reuters.
"While the large numbers of invaders stand at his door, President Arafat is more determined... to lead the march of the Palestinian people towards attaining freedom, independence and the establishment of the Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital," the statement added.
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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