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Israeli Forces surround Arafat HQ

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Israeli forces surround Arafat HQ

Sept. 19 -- A bus lies charred on a downtown Tel Aviv street after the second suicide bombing in two days. NBC's Jim Maceda reports on the emerging details.

MSNBC STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

TEL AVIV, Israel, Sept. 19 — Hours after a suicide bomber killed at least five people in downtown Tel Aviv on Thursday, Israeli tanks rolled into the headquarters compound of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, officials said. Israel television said the operation was aimed to quarantine Arafat and not to capture or expel him. The bus bombing, the second such attack in two days, had shattered six weeks of relative calm in the Middle East.

PALESTINIAN SECURITY officials said Israeli forces fired machine guns and shells at Arafat’s office, wounding two security officers.

Israeli media reported that the army warned Arafat that troops would arrest anybody who exited the buildings.

An Israeli army spokesman said in a statement that “in response to the terrorist attack, Israeli forces surrounded the compound.”

After past terror attacks, Israeli hard-liners have called for Arafat’s expulsion, but Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has resisted pressure to do so.

Sharon’s spokesman Raanan Gissin refused to give details of the latest operation, saying the information was subject to Israeli military censorship.

An official inside the compound told the Associated Press that the Israeli tanks had advanced to the area of a helicopter landing pad outside Arafat’s office building. Arafat’s office is in a central section of a large building, protected by piles of sandbags.

Israel has held Ramallah under siege for most of the year, with tanks breaking into the city-block-sized compound several times, destroying some of the buildings. Arafat has been confined to the building most of the time since last December.

Palestinians charge that Israel’s harsh military measures are responsible for the violence. On the one hand, they say, Israel’s occupation of most of the West Bank population centers has left Palestinian security unable to operate, and on the other, the Israeli curfews and roadblocks have built Palestinian resentment and frustration, leading to a violent response.

The Palestinian Authority issued a statement denouncing the Tel Aviv bombing, saying it gives Sharon’s government a reason to retaliate.

BUSY DOWNTOWN

Thursday’s explosion tore through a bus while it was driving on Allenby Street, in the heart of a crowded restaurant and business district at lunchtime.

Herzl Ben-Moshe, a store owner trying to rescue passengers, said he saw several people lying on the floor of the bus, including one man whose legs had been blown off. “People were yelling, ‘Take us out of here,”’ Ben-Moshe said.

President Bush said he strongly condemned the back-to-back suicide bombings. “We continue to send our message to the good people of that region that if you’re interested in peace, if you want people to grow up in a peaceful world, all parties must do everything they can to reject and stop violence,” Bush said at a meeting in the Oval Office.

After Thursday’s blast, Hamas spokesman Ismail Abu Shanab told The Associated Press he expected to see “a series of operations against the Zionist enemy, as a result of the daily brutal crimes against our people.” But he stopped short of claiming responsibility.

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack, in which a suicide bomber blew himself at a bus stop in northern Israel, killing an Israeli policeman.

Before this week, there had been no suicide bombings in Israel since Aug. 4.

The renewed attacks came a day after Israel rejected a Palestinian proposal for a two-stage truce. Israel said the Palestinian offer to halt attacks in Israel proper during the first phase implied Palestinians still would feel free to strike Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

ISRAEL WEIGHS RESPONSE

Israeli troops already occupy most Palestinian towns in the West Bank and confine hundreds of thousands of residents to their homes daily to try to keep militants out of Israel.

However, troops lifted the curfew in the town of Jenin for several hours Tuesday for the first time in weeks, and there was some speculation that the recent days attackers may have come from the town, a hotbed of militants.

Thursday’s explosion went off just after 1 p.m., outside one of the major synagogues in Tel Aviv, across the street from a Starbucks coffee shop and a block away from the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

“People were hurting, screaming, wounded. We saw pieces of people,” said Zohara Pillo, 27, a visitor from Haifa. “The driver was sitting in his seat and his hands were on the window and he was dead, he was all blackened,” she said.

The blast scorched the bus and blew out its windows. One man with blood over his bare chest was wheeled away by paramedics. Another man sat on the sidewalk, crying. Religious volunteers in white overalls later searched the area, picking bits of flesh and placing them into plastic bags. Jewish law requires burial of the entire body.

Mark Sofer, an official in the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said that “once again, the utter bestiality of Palestinian terrorism has reared its ugly head, on a bus in Tel Aviv.” Sofer held the Palestinian Authority responsible, saying it had done nothing to rein in militants.

Allenby Street has previously been targeted by Palestinian militants. On March 30, a suicide bomber from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a militia linked to Arafat’s Fatah movement, walked into a cafe on Allenby Street and blew himself up, killing one woman and wounding 30 people.

12-YEAR-OLD KILLED

In other developments Thursday, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy breaking curfew in the West Bank town of Ramallah to buy cigarettes for his father was killed by shots that a witness said were fired from a nearby Israeli tank. The Israeli military said it was looking into the incident.

In Abu Dis, a West Bank suburb of Jerusalem, Israeli bulldozers razed the family homes of two Palestinian suicide bombers who blew themselves up on a pedestrian mall in Jerusalem on Dec. 1, killing 11 bystanders.

NBC’s Jim Maceda in Tel Aviv, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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Originally posted by sassa

and i wish someone would pop one into sharon, that fat racist fuck.

And is Arafat better???? he was given everything when him and Barak met with clinton and he refused that's why he is IRRELEVANTand is only hurting the Isreali palestinian conflict. The U.S granted does not give as much to the palestinians but they do receive aid and who gets it Arafat and his wife parading around paris like royalty or something whie her husband is ordering suicide bombings . The man is suffering from alzheimer's and dellusional. I can bet that when the elections happen and if Arafat is removed from power he will be disposed of just like the terrorist of the Munich

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Originally posted by bigmahs

And is Arafat better???? he was given everything when him and Barak met with clinton and he refused that's why he is IRRELEVANTand is only hurting the Isreali palestinian conflict. The U.S granted does not give as much to the palestinians but they do receive aid and who gets it Arafat and his wife parading around paris like royalty or something whie her husband is ordering suicide bombings . The man is suffering from alzheimer's and dellusional. I can bet that when the elections happen and if Arafat is removed from power he will be disposed of just like the terrorist of the Munich

what eactly WAS he given? do you know???

what was offered to him was not adequate for the palestinians, they were being jipped.......that's why he refused.

Arafat is no better, I'm not saying he is, and I think someone like Dr. Shafi (one of the founders of the PLO) would be a much better candidate, unfortunately, many of the men whom they thought could succeed Arafat are in prison right now, for advocating their beliefs..

Sharon is probably one of the worst things to happen to Israel, next to Netanyahu....if you don't know what the fuck is going on in Israel, don't talk....umemployment, security, benefits, and all that are down the drain now thanks to these assholes...

In fact, I think everything for Israel started to head downhill when Rabin was assasinated...now HE was a true Israeli leader.

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Palestine should get what they can be happy with it, but NO instead they go out killing innocent people. That makes alot of sence..... by the way if you havent noticed, unemployment, security and benefits are down the drain everywhere in the world. So dont go blaming Sharon, if the Israely people had a soft leader they be at the palestinians mercy.

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Originally posted by dnice35

Palestine should get what they can be happy with it, but NO instead they go out killing innocent people. That makes alot of sence..... by the way if you havent noticed, unemployment, security and benefits are down the drain everywhere in the world. So dont go blaming Sharon, if the Israely people had a soft leader they be at the palestinians mercy.

.................and i suppose the israelis aren't killing innocent civilians either? :rolleyes:

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Originally posted by dnice35

They are defending their country, oh and by the way they dont go into palestine settlements and blow themselfs up. at least the israeli people value life as oppose to the palestine barbarians.

they do kill people randomally though...no way anyone can deny that...

those people that blow themselves up are radicals whose psyches are so fucked up,they feel that the world has turned its back on them, and might as well do something in retaliation for all the shit their people are going through...

true, israel is defending itself....but it doesn't need to do sick, inhumane acts to do so...

maybe if the palestinians were also given 5 billion dollars a year from a sugar daddy they wouldn't blow themselves up, but would rather kill the Israeli way...

this is starting to become a joke, maybe this thread should die right now.

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Originally posted by dnice35

They are defending their country, oh and by the way they dont go into palestine settlements and blow themselfs up. at least the israeli people value life as oppose to the palestine barbarians.

Dude, that might not happen, but they DO kill innocent civilians their own way ...the news just doesn't want you to see it .

I think both leaders should be ousted. Shimon Peres would be a great post-Israeli/Palestine conflict leader.

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