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Israel Attacks More Palestinian Targets


Israel has launched several air strikes on Palestinian targets in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. At least two Palestinians were killed and more than 100 wounded during the attacks on Gaza.

During sweeping air raids, helicopter gun ships fired missiles near the headquarters of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

Mr. Arafat was in his office when a missile slammed into a police building within the walled compound, but he was not hurt. Israel says he was not the target of the strike.

Missiles were also fired at Palestinian security targets in the West Bank town of Tulkarm and a military intelligence headquarters in the village of Salfit.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli warplanes fired missiles, hitting offices of the Palestinian security services in Gaza City and targets in the Khan Yunis refugee camp in southern Gaza.

Heavy smoke billowed over Gaza and witnesses reported major damage there.

This is the second straight day of Israeli attacks on Palestinian targets in retaliation for suicide bombings inside Israel that killed at least 25 people.

Brigadier General Ron Kitrey is a spokesman for the Israeli military. "We are attacking targets purely military or police targets that were involved in planning or carrying out terrorist activities against Israeli civilians and or soldiers," he said.

The Israeli cabinet has declared the Palestinian Authority a supporter of terrorism and labeled Mr. Arafat's Force 17 security unit and the Tanzim faction of his Fatah group as "terrorist organizations."

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accused the Israeli government of destroying the peace process and the Palestinian Authority. He called on the world to stop "this madness immediately."

Palestinian analyst Mustafa Barghouthi says the air strikes and a tight closure on the territories are punishing the entire Palestinian population. "This is intolerable," he said. "What is happening is that 3.1 million people, Palestinians, are subjected to collective punishment in an act that can only be described as an act of state terror."

Washington last week sent a special envoy to the region, but the violence has intensified since retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni arrived to seek ways of establishing a lasting cease-fire.

Since the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation broke out in September of last year, more than 1,000 people, mostly Palestinians, have died in the conflict.

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