- The Washington Times - Friday, March 8, 2002

JERUSALEM Israel pressed its campaign of intense strikes throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip yesterday, conducting sweeps in refugee camps and killing 12 Palestinians. A Palestinian suicide bomber attacked a West Bank settlement, while two other bombing attempts were foiled.
Israeli troops stormed through two West Bank refugee camps before dawn and fired rockets at a police station after nightfall in one of Gaza's most crowded camps, sending Palestinian civilians running for cover. In the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Israeli air strikes on Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's local headquarters hit so hard they blew open bolted doors in nearby homes.
[Mr. Arafat was unhurt when missiles slammed into a building at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah late Wednesday as he met with European Union envoy Miguel Angel Moratinos, Reuters news agency reported.
[Mr. Arafat, who has been confined to Ramallah by Israeli forces since December, was on the phone to Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres at the time of the attack.
["Shimon, I'm being bombed," an Israeli newspaper quoted Mr. Arafat as saying. It said Mr. Peres replied: "I am very sorry. I will do all I can to stop the bombing immediately."]
Israeli leaders said the campaign was aimed at forcing the Palestinians to stop terror attacks, but there was no sign of that yesterday.
In the deadly conflict, a Palestinian suicide bomber walked into a hotel complex in Ariel, the West Bank's second-largest Jewish settlement, and blew himself up in the lobby, injuring four persons and sending canned goods and cereal boxes flying in the adjoining supermarket.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) claimed responsibility for the attack.
Helicopters later fired three missiles into PFLP headquarters in the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, destroying the single-story building, witnesses said. The army said helicopters attacked two police stations in Beit Hanoun, but said nothing about the PFLP offices.
Another suicide bombing, at a trendy Jerusalem cafe, was thwarted when the cafe owner, a waiter and a customer jumped the man, shoved him outside and grabbed his bag after they saw wires dangling from it.


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