- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 26, 2001

NABLUS, West Bank (Agence France-Presse) Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat ordered the dismantling of a bloody art exhibition yesterday, two days after it opened to commemorate last month's suicide bombing at a Jerusalem pizzeria in which 15 persons were killed, a senior security official said.

The art exhibition at Annajah University in the West Bank town of Nablus was set to mark the first anniversary of the Palestinian intifada, or uprising, according to university officials.

The exhibit, organized by the militant Palestinian group Hamas, which was responsible for the suicide bombing of Aug. 9, contained a room-sized installation with broken tables splattered with fake blood, pizza and human body parts.

"The president was gravely disturbed and offended by the images in the exhibit," said the senior security official in a statement.

He added that Mr. Arafat "further instructed the authorities concerned to investigate the matter and reprimand those responsible."

On the wall of the show hung a portrait of suicide bomber Ezzaldin Almasri, holding a Quran in one hand and a rifle in the other. Outside the exhibition, which opened Sunday, a mural depicted the Sbarro pizzeria bombing, graphically illustrating screaming Israelis in skullcaps being blown apart by the blast.

The exhibit came at an inopportune time for Mr. Arafat, who quickly distanced himself from the event as he attempts to join the U.S.-led coalition against terrorism and revive the peace process with Israel.

He is scheduled to have long-awaited talks with Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres today.

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