Archive for Tuesday, October 31, 2000

Israel launches retaliatory strikes

October 31, 2000


— In one of the most intense Israeli assaults in a month of fighting, attack helicopters unleashed missile attacks Monday night on offices of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, strikes meant to retaliate for the killings of two Israelis.

Israel fired warnings to clear the four offices in the West Bank and Gaza Strip before firing missiles, Israel television said. The missiles set off fires, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.

The two killings were the first Israeli deaths in and around Jerusalem since the violence began last month. At least 45 Palestinians were wounded Monday.

"I don't know what the Israelis are trying to achieve through this language," Palestinian spokesman Saeb Erekat told army radio. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak "said that violence will not be rewarded or achieve anything. The prime minister needs to listen to himself."

About 100 Palestinians began rioting around midnight Sunday, throwing stones and firebombs at Israeli troops near Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip.

Earlier in the day, Barak opened the winter session of parliament and won a temporary reprieve for his unstable, minority government, warning Palestinians there would "be no reward for violence."

Barak's coalition appeared safe from collapse for at least the next few weeks. The ultra-Orthodox Shas party, Israel's third-largest, said it would support him for the next month.

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