Israel on high alert for suicide attacks

Special to World
Monday, September 15, 2003

TEL AVIV Israel has been placed under high alert for the prospect of a wave of Palestinian suicide attacks amid efforts to expel Yasser Arafat.

Israeli officials said authorities have received alerts for 40 planned attacks on civilian targets. They said most of the plots comprise suicide attacks in Israeli cities.

Over the weekend, Israeli security forces captured a Palestinian insurgent prepared to launch a suicide attack in Israel. The insurgent was identified as a member of the ruling Fatah movement.

Officials said authorities also found three suicide belts in the Jerusalem suburb of Azariya. The belts, which contained 20 kilograms of explosives, were found in a washing machine in a butcher shop.

Assuming the unassumable
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The suicide belts were believed to have been prepared by Hamas. The organization's cell in the West Bank city of Hebron was said to have been responsible for a series of recent suicide attacks in Jerusalem and other Israeli cities.

Over the weekend, Fatah organized demonstrations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to protest Israel's plans to deport Arafat. The European Union, United States and United Nations have expressed their opposition to the Israeli expulsion of Arafat.

"Deportation is one of the options," Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said. "Liquidation is another option. It is only an issue of practical considerations. Another option is imprisonment that isolates him from the world."

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