Saturday, May 26, 2012

BBC News & the Palestinians

Sunday, 9 September, 2001, 23:01 GMT 00:01 UK

A new wave of violence rocks the Middle East with two Palestinian suicide bomb attacks in Israel and shooting incidents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.The deadliest attack was in the northern coastal town of Nahariya, where three Israelis were killed and 10 people injured when a suicide bomber targeted the train station.A few hours later, a second suicide bomber exploded his device near a bus at the busy Beit Lid intersection, near the central city of Netanya, injuring three.

Nahariya bomb attack victim
The injured were rushed from the train station on stretchers

Man carrying baby at Nahariya
Both young and old were evacuated from the scene

Injured reserve soldier Ronen Levy
The shock of the attack began to sink in...

Nahariya bomb attack victim
As the bodies of those killed were removed...

Nahariya bomb attack
And the grim task of collecting the flesh of the victims for burial began

Nahariya bomb attack
The task of gathering forensic evidence began immediately

Burning bus at Netanya
A car bomb also exploded in Netanya, leaving vehicles burning

Friday, 8 December, 2000, 17:05 GMT

Hebron protesters
Are Palestinians rejecting the Oslo peace process?

By BBC News Online's Tarik Kafala
The first intifada, or uprising, was sparked on 9 December 1987 in Gaza when a Israeli lorry ran into and killed four Palestinians.
The uprising is credited with restoring pride to Palestinians downtrodden by 20 years of Israeli occupation and forcing Israel to the negotiating table.
To mark its anniversary, 13 Palestinian organisations, ranging from Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement to Hamas, called for two "days of rage".

Injured Palestinian
The numbers of injured is far greater today than in 1987
The current violence in the Palestinian territories and Israel is being widely referred to as the "Al-Aqsa intifada", tying it to a high-point of Palestinian resistance and casting it as a popular uprising - not, as Israelis argue, violence organised by the Palestinian Authority.
Though it is clear that part of the current crisis is a popular expression of frustration at the peace process there are clear differences between the late 1980s and the current violence in the organisation of the protests, the level of violence and where it might all lead.
When the 1987 intifada broke out in the Jebalia refugee camp in Gaza, it spread like wild fire to all areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It lasted, with varying levels of intensity, until 1993.
It came as a complete surprise to both the Israelis and the PLO, at the time in exile in Tunisia.

Israeli soldiers
The Israeli response to the current violence has been criticised internationally
It also kept the Israeli occupation army at full stretch. Youths confronted the soldiers with stones and petrol bombs - but unlike the current violence, the demonstrators were at no stage armed with guns.
Much of the Palestinian resistance was non-violent. It included demonstrations, strikes, boycotting Israeli goods and the civil administration in the occupied territories, and the creation of independent schools and alternative social and political institutions.
World attention
One of the main achievements of the intifada was to draw world attention to the plight of Palestinians under the occupation - in particular the brutal measures used by the Israelis against the uprising.
The Israeli secret services infiltrated and executed organisers of the uprising.

Palestinian Tanzim
The Tanzim: An organised militia linked to Fatah?
Most famously, the then Israeli chief of staff, Yitzhak Rabin, called for the "breaking of the bones" of protesters as a method of riot control.
Rabin, now seen as a leading Israeli peace maker, saw that shooting Palestinians played badly with international public opinion and that Palestinians were able to maintain the moral high ground because they were unarmed.
Extreme violence
The most startling contrast between the intifada of 1987-1993 and today's clashes and protests is the level of the violence.
In the 10 weeks since the end of September, the current violence has already left more than 300 people dead, the vast majority of them Palestinian.

Rabin and Arafat
Is the new Intifada the end of the peace process started by Rabin and Arafat
According to Human Rights Watch, 670 Palestinians were killed during the first two and a half years of the first intifada - the most active years of the uprising.
This is in part because Palestinian gunmen are involved in the violence. Israel has responded with the use of tanks, helicopter gunships, rockets and high velocity weapons.
Though this has drawn international criticism, the Israelis have argued that they are responding to armed and organised attacks.
One of the key Israeli demands for an end to the current violence has been the disarming of the Tanzim - which is, according to the Israelis, an organised Palestinian militia associated with the Fatah movement.
Intifada results
The current situation also differs from 1987 in that the Palestinian Authority is now in control of most of the Gaza Strip and of substantial areas in the West Bank.
The authority is in the difficult position of being responsible, under the various Palestinian-Israeli agreements, for preventing Palestinian violence against Israel.
And there is a strong irony about the current situation.
The 1987 intifada was credited with bringing about the Oslo peace process - it ended in September 1993 when Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin signed the Declaration of Principles on the basis of the secret Oslo talks.
The current violence is widely being credited with burying the peace process begun in Oslo, and signalling a popular Palestinian rejection of the process they believe will not deliver some of their most basic requirements for peace.
Despite the best efforts of American and European mediators, as the current violence goes on it is getting harder and harder to get Palestinian and Israeli negotiators talking to each other as they used to.

Thursday, 29 March, 2001, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
Who are the suicide bombers?
Israeli investigators near the covered body of a suspected Palestinian suicide bomber
The suicide bombers can get right to their targets

By BBC News Online's Kate Milner
A series of suicide bombings against Israelis have ignited fears in Israel of a new campaign - as threatened by Islamic militant groups.

In 1996, for example, Israel was paralysed by a series of suicide bombings that killed more than 50 people.
It is a measure of the depth of feeling among Palestinians - anger, resentment and in some cases despair - that there appears to be no shortage of recruits ready to die for a Palestinian state.
The suicide bombers are typically unmarried men in their late teens and 20s. They act in the belief that they will go straight to paradise, where they will get places of honour next to God.
Most of the bombers are affiliated to the Palestinian militant groups Hamas or Islamic Jihad.

Woman injured in suicide bomb attack
Israelis fear a new wave of attacks

Such attacks are, according to analysts, planned meticulously, along the lines of a military operation.
In some cases, support teams transport the bomber by van or car to the location minutes before the detonation.
The Palestinian militant groups, which are Sunni Muslim, resemble the Lebanese Shia'a militant group Hezbollah in that they are acutely media-conscious and the timing and positioning of attacks are carefully considered to achieve the maximum public impact.
The explosives usually have a hand-pulled detonator rather than a button, because it is less likely to go off accidentally.

Promised rewards
Some media reports have speculated that suicide bombers take drugs before they go on their missions, but this would run contrary to the strict religious teachings they adhere to.
They are likely to be motivated by religious fervour.

Jewish man on a practically empty bus
The bombers often target buses in Israel
According to Islamic tradition, he who gives his life for an Islamic cause will have his sins forgiven and a place reserved in paradise.
For many years, suicide attacks on Israelis have been seen by some Palestinians as just such acts of martyrdom.
Recruits are reassured by their organisation that their families will be looked after materially until they die, and there are charitable organisations that exist for this purpose.
Recruits are picked out from mosques, schools and religious institutions. They are likely to have shown particular dedication to the principles of Islam, and are singled out for deeper study.
Gradually, they get more involved in political issues, and are taught the rewards that will await them if they sacrifice their lives.
Eventually, many of them will volunteer for a suicide mission, hoping for greater glory.
They will spend less and less time with their families and devote themselves to religious study and spiritual preparation. They are sent out with just a day or two's notice on how and where to blow themselves up.
Faced with men who embrace their mission with such zeal, Israeli security forces will have to be extra vigilant to stop them.

Wednesday, 4 July, 2001, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK

Funeral of murdered Israeli
Israeli deaths on Monday prompted the move

The Israeli army has been given the green light to "toughen its methods" against Palestinians in a further sign that the tattered US-brokered ceasefire is in danger of collapse.
"The security cabinet decided to toughen the methods and the reactions of the Israeli army," Labour Minister Shlomo Benizri said after the 13-member body met.

In the next few days I hope the Palestinians are going to feel a heavier punch from the army
Israeli minister Shlomo Benizri
The BBC's Barbara Plett in Jerusalem says that may mean giving the army greater licence to carry out targeted killings of Palestinian activists.
Shortly afterwards, Israeli radio reported that a militant from Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement was shot in the West Bank city of Hebron.
The man, Hezem al-Natcheh, speaking in hospital, said Israeli forces had been searching for him for eight months - and he believed Palestinians working for them had shot him.
'Heavier punch'
Israeli minister Shlomo Benizri - who belongs to the ultra-Orthodox Shas party - said the army had asked for carte blanche to go after Palestinians, after militants killed two Israelis in separate shooting incidents on Monday.
"In the next few days I hope the Palestinians are going to feel a heavier punch from the army," he said on Israeli army radio.

The return to the policy of liquidations torpedoes US and international efforts and is leading the region into chaos
Palestinian spokesman
Israeli radio said that 26 Palestinian militants were on a list to be killed and another 250 faced arrest.
But the Palestinian leadership warned that the move would ruin attempts to maintain a ceasefire and lead to further trouble.
"The return to the policy of liquidations torpedoes US and international efforts and is leading the region into chaos," Nabil Abu Rudainah, an adviser to Mr Arafat, told the French news agency AFP.
Amnesty International also condemned the move as a contravention of the ceasefire agreement.
Settlement freeze
The development comes as a dispute sharpens over when the countdown to a six-week "cooling-off" period should begin - according to a timetable set down by CIA chief George Tenet.
Mr Abu Rudainah put forward the Palestinian view that an initial week-long test period of "calm" should end on Wednesday - while Israel insists it has not yet begun.

Shaul Mofaz
Mofaz faced unusual criticism in the US 
The proposals outlined in the report by former US Senator George Mitchell's committee included a recommendation that construction at Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza be frozen.
But Israel says Mr Arafat has failed to clamp down on militants since their truce began.
Nevertheless, Mr Benizri said the government's overall policy of "restraint" would remain in place, meaning Israel would refrain from attacking installations belonging to Mr Arafat's Palestinian Authority.
More than 600 people have been killed in Israeli-Palestinian violence since September 2000 when the current Palestinian uprising erupted in protest at Israel's occupation and settlement activity in Gaza and the West Bank.
Controversial policy
The Palestinians accuse Israel of having assassinated about 40 activists since their popular uprising began last September.
Israeli Army chief Shaul Mofaz, who cut short a visit to the US because of the deteriorating security situation, said the policy of pre-emptive attacks on Palestinian militants was justifiable self-defence.
"We will not give up and we will not be defeated by the Palestinian terror activity and the violence," he told journalists.
General Mofaz made the comments after talks with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice at which the assassination policy was criticised.

Sunday, 8 July, 2001, 04:41 GMT 05:41 UK

Palestinians look on as effigy of Ariel Sharon burns in the West Bank town of Nablus
Palestinians are outraged at Israel's "crimes"

Israeli troops have killed an 11-year-old boy at Rafah, near the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.
The Palestinians say he was shot dead while playing in the street but the Israelis say their forces came under attack and returned fire.

Doctors attend to Palestinian boy shot in the head
Doctors tried in vain to save Khalil Al-Mugrabi's life
The dead boy was identified as Khalil Ibrahim Al-Mugrabi by hospital officials, who said he was shot in the head.
The boy was the 17th Palestinian to be killed since the adoption of a truce brokered by the United States three weeks ago. Over same period of time, nine Israelis have been killed.
The head of Palestinian Security in Gaza, Abdel Razek Majaidie, condemned the incident as "another crime" by Israel. He said it violated Israel's declaration of ceasefire.
Sporadic violence
The Israeli army said Palestinians threw hand grenades and petrol bombs and gunmen fired on Israeli soldiers posted at Rafah throughout Saturday.

Ariel Sharon
Mr Sharon went to Europe to seek support 
In another incident, two Israeli soldiers were lightly injured when a roadside bomb exploded near the West Bank village of Asira al-Shamaliya, near Nablus.
The violence raged a day after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon returned from Europe acknowledging disagreement with European leaders there over his policies against Palestinians.
But Mr Sharon told journalists he believed he had achieved his main aim - to get the Israeli position well understood.
"There may not be complete agreement, but it's totally clear there is understanding," he said.
Mr Sharon went to Europe to seek support for Israel's view of its conflict with the Palestinians and to ask for pressure to be brought on the Palestinians to clamp down on militants.

There may not be complete agreement, but it's totally clear there is understanding
Ariel Sharon
During Mr Sharon's two-day visit, French and German leaders urged him not to undermine the Palestinian leadership with his demand for a total cessation of violence.
French officials said French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin expressed concern that Israel's insistence that violence stop totally would never be met, so damaging the chances of re-starting the peace process.
But Mr Sharon insisted that Israel would "not negotiate under ... violence and terrorism".
As expected, he received a warmer welcome in Germany than France, although Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said he had offered Mr Sharon friendly advice to be more "flexible" on the question of continued expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories.

Monday, 9 July, 2001, 10:05 GMT 11:05 UK

Israeli troops by remains of booby-trapped vehicle in Gaza Strip
Hamas said it was avenging a Palestinian boy's death

The Islamic militant group Hamas has said it carried out a suicide car bombing in the Gaza Strip which killed the vehicle's Palestinian driver.
The group's armed wing named the bomber as Nafez Ayesh al-Nadher, 26, and published his photograph.
And in the West Bank, an Israeli soldier wounded by an explosion while on patrol near Hebron has died of his injuries.

The Gaza explosion happened near the Kissufim crossing point between Israel and Gaza - a road junction used by vehicles travelling to and from Israeli settlements.
The Israeli Army said there were no other casualties.
But a video which Hamas says was taken of the explosion shows a white minibus travelling along the settlers' road when the Palestinian lorry detonates and the scene is engulfed in smoke.
The bombing was a response to "the assassination and killing of children," Hamas said. The Palestinian's body was found at the scene, Israeli military officials said.
Palestinian police later arrested an accomplice of the bomber, the French news agency AFP reported.

Suicide bombers
On Sunday, Hamas vowed to send 10 suicide bombers against Israel to avenge the army's killing of an 11-year-old Palestinian boy, Khalil Mughrabi.
The boy was with a group of as many as 20 other children when he was shot by Israeli soldiers from a nearby Israeli observation tower on Saturday.

The grandfather of Khalil Ibrahim Al-Mughrabi weeps before his funeral
Relatives of the boy mourned in the presence of his body 
The Israeli defence forces say that there had been grenades fired from the area, and they were returning fire.
However, local residents say there was no trouble in that part of town, which runs along the border.
An Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) spokeswoman said Israeli posts in Rafah had come under heavy fire in the 24 hours preceding the boy's death, with a barrage of 26 grenades as well as Molotov cocktails and hours of stone-throwing.
Relatives of the boy mourned in the presence of his body.
Two other children, aged 10 and 12, were also shot. The younger of the two was seriously injured, but doctors now say that he is out of danger.
He is presently in a hospital in the refugee town of Khan Yunis.
The incident has raised passions in the southern town of Rafah, which is a flashpoint for violence between Palestinians and Israeli posts.
Seventeen Palestinians and 10 Israelis have been killed since a ceasefire drawn up by the US CIA Director George Tenet was supposed to have taken effect on 13 June.
Both sides have accused the other of breaches of the agreement, which now appears in disarray.
At least 476 Palestinians, 122 Israelis and 13 Israeli Arabs have been killed since a Palestinian uprising began in September after peace talks stalled.

Friday, 13 July, 2001, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK

Hamas vows revenge for 'assassination'

Israeli soldiers on an armoured vehicle as they block the main road to the West Bank town of Hebron
Hebron's heaviest fighting since the truce began

The militant Islamic group Hamas has accused Israel of assassinating one of its activists in a car bombing in the West Banktown of Tulkarm.
Fawwaz Badran, 27, died as his car exploded outside his music store in the town centre on Friday.
Hamas has said revenge will now follow.

This will not pass without any reaction from the military wing of Hamas. This will not stop our resistance...Revenge is coming soon
Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Abu Shanab

His death came after fierce clashes in the West Bank city of Hebron over the past two days which have left one Israeli dead and 23 Palestinians wounded.
Israeli tanks began shelling a Palestinian-controlled area after a Jewish settler was killed.
It was the heaviest outbreak of fighting in Hebron since a US-sponsored truce took effect a month ago.
Israeli troops briefly entered the Palestinian-controlled part of Hebron and destroyed three police posts, Palestinian security officials said.
Two police and 21 other Palestinians were wounded, they said. Hebron was blacked out by an electric power cut.
"The city is shaking," a witness told Reuters news agency.
An Israeli army spokesman said a Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli troops in a separate incident in the Gaza Strip on Friday.
The spokesman said he was preparing to throw a grenade.

A settler in Hebron near the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba
A Jewish settler walks by burning debris in Hebron 

Following the death of the Hamas activist, the senior Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Abu Shanab, told Reuters: "This is an assassination. This is a new crime... This incites us to more resistance, to more revenge because Israeli military arrogance does not stop except by power.
"This will not pass without any reaction from the military wing of Hamas. This will not stop our resistance... Revenge is coming soon".
Hamas has been behind attacks in recent years that have killed scores of Israelis.
Suicide bombers
Earlier this week, it promised to launch a stream of suicide bombers against Israel to avenge the Israeli army killing of an 11-year-old Palestinian boy.
Witnesses said Palestinian gunmen and Israeli soldiers traded gunfire at the edge of the city soon after the Tulkarm explosion.
They said Israeli troops fired two tank shells near a Palestinian outpost. There were no reports of casualties.
Deliberate targeting
Palestinian officials have accused Israel of assassinating at least 40 activists since the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation flared in the West Bank and Gaza Strip last September when peace talks stalled.
Israel has denied having such policy but said it deliberately targets those it knows are involved in "terrorist" attacks against its citizens.
The United States and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan have urged Israel to end a policy which they say violates international law and threatens peace efforts.
Earlier this month, the Israeli cabinet reaffirmed its strategy of "active defence" against militants who planned or attempted to carry out attacks against Israelis.
Twenty-two Palestinians and 11 Israelis have died since the sides agreed to a US-brokered ceasefire on June 13. At least 480 Palestinians, 125 Israelis and 13 Israeli Arabs have been killed since September.

Tuesday, 17 July, 2001, 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK

Israeli officials examine the scene of the blast in Binyamina
The bomber killed a male and female soldier

Israeli tanks have shelled four Palestinian checkpoints near the West Bank towns of Jenin and Tulkarem, hours after a suicide bomb attack in northern Israel.
But Israeli political sources say the response would have been much harsher but for a plea for restraint by the United States.
The bomber blew himself up near a train station in the town of Binyamina on Monday evening, killing two Israelis, a male and a female soldier, and injuring at least eight others.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the bombing was "a cruel and terrible attack which shows that the Palestinian Authority has yet to decide to act against terror".
The tense security situation led Defence Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer to call off a week-long visit to the United States.
During the visit, due to start on Wednesday, Mr Ben-Eliezer was due to meet the Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
The militant Islamic Jihad group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Israeli security forces have been on high alert following several attacks by militant Muslim groups since the beginning of the Palestinian intifada (uprising) last September.
Many right-wing Israelis wanted a much harsher military reply to the bombing than the shelling of the Palestinian checkpoints.
But Israeli sources say an American envoy pressed Israel to limit its response in return for a condemnation of the attack from the Palestinian Authority.
That condemnation came quickly after the bombing.

Israeli officials examine the scene of the blast in Binyamina
Police closed off the area, while explosives experts looked for more bombs
In addition, a BBC correspondent in Jerusalem says Mr Sharon did not want to launch a major military action at the start of the Maccabiah Games, an international Jewish sporting event which takes place in Israel once every four years and opened on Monday evening in Jerusalem.
A spokesman for Mr Sharon said Israel would continue to try to intercept militants before they carry out attacks - which our correspondent says often means killing known militants.
Islamic Jihad's statement said the attack, in which Nidal Shadouf, 20, had blown himself up in a crowd of people near the train station, was in retaliation for Israel's policy of assassinating Palestinian militants suspected of planning attacks on Israelis.
"We warn the leaders of the Zionist enemy against any further idiocy or aggression against our people, and assure them that there are tens of suicide bombers ready to blow themselves up at any moment, anywhere in our usurped homeland of Palestine," the statement warned.

Arafat is sitting somewhere and smiling... saying that you can talk with me, but I am hitting you
Israeli Minister Reuven Rivlin
Ambulances rushed to the scene of the blast and police closed off the area, while explosives experts looked for more bombs.
Police used helicopters to hunt for a green Opel car, which is believed to have dropped off the suicide bomber at the scene of the blast.
Witnesses said they saw a car draw up near the train station - a man got out, walked towards the station, and then blew himself up.
Within minutes of the news breaking, Israeli Communications Minister Reuven Rivlin said Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was to blame for the attack.
"Arafat is sitting somewhere and smiling... saying that you can talk with me, but I am hitting you," Mr Rivlin told Israeli television.
The explosion followed a day of heavy clashes in the West Bank city of Hebron on Monday, in which several people were injured and Palestinian police posts were destroyed when Israeli tanks moved into the Palestinian controlled area of the city.

Wednesday, 18 July, 2001, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK

Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon - under pressure from all sides

By Frank Gardner in Jerusalem
Israeli troops have deployed in strength in the West Bank, ostensibly to deter further violence.
The move follows a bloody two days in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
This week has seen a Palestinian suicide bomber kill himself and two Israelis, an assassination by Israel of Hamas militants, and the firing of mortars against Israelis in the West Bank for the first time since this 10-month-long bout of violence began.
The so-called ceasefire is dead in all but name. So what comes next?
Wait-and-see policy
In the immediate future, Israel is likely to adopt a wait-and-see policy, hoping this show of strength will intimidate the Palestinians into stopping their attacks on Israelis. It will not.

A Palestinian boy holds a toy gun
Mid-East violence is likely to continue
Ten months of violence and more than 50 years of Arab bitterness will ensure that there will always be a hard core of Palestinian militants prepared to defy orders and risk death in order to kill Israelis.
Arabs all over the Middle East have said it, time and time again: as long as Israel occupies Arab land there will never be lasting peace.
So, given that the violence is likely to continue, Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon essentially has three choices.

  • He can tough it out, responding with limited force to each attack on Israelis, making life uncomfortable for the Palestinians while trying to keep Israeli casualties to a minimum.
    This is the most likely option for now, but a major new attack on Israelis could prompt Israel to change its policy.
  • He can take drastic action, either striking hard at the Palestinian Authority's power base or sending in his troops to reoccupy Palestinian-controlled areas, effectively tearing up the eight-year-old Oslo peace accords.
    It could be a limited in-and-out operation, but it could also trigger the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, driving the leadership into exile and drawing international condemnation.
  • He can bow to international and Arab pressure and begin substantive talks with the Palestinian leadership about a future peace deal. This would take some of the pressure off Yasser Arafat and give him an incentive to restrain Palestinian militants.
    But it would also be a reversal of Mr Sharon's avowed policy never to negotiate under fire and Israeli right-wingers would condemn it as weakness.
    Unlikely peace
    None of these scenarios is likely to lead to the longed-for solution to the Middle East conflict: a balanced, lasting peace deal that satisfies all sides.

    Israeli soldier and Orthodox Jew in front of cement block barriers in Gilo
    Israel is likely to adopt a wait-and-see policy in the near future 
    Ariel Sharon has already indicated he is not prepared to offer the Palestinians nearly as much land as his predecessor Ehud Barak did.
    Yasser Arafat is still sticking to his demand for the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their original homes in Israel.
    Both positions are unacceptable to the other side.
    Perhaps Ehud Barak was right last week, when he said the Middle East may have to wait for a new generation of leaders before a peace deal can be reached.

  • Sunday, 12 August, 2001, 20:47 GMT 21:47 UK

    Aftermath of restaurant bomb in Jerusalem, 9 August 2001
    The aftermath of the attack on the Jerusalem restaurant

    12 August: Suicide bomb attack on restaurant near Haifa. Bomber dies, up to 20 people injured.
    9 August: Fifteen people are killed and about 90 others injured in a suicide attack on a busy restaurant in the heart of Jerusalem. Hamas admits responsibility.
    2 June: Suicide bomb attack on a disco in Tel Aviv leaves 21 people dead and more than 60 others injured. Islamic Jihad claim responsibility.

    Injured victim of the Jerusalem bombing
    More than 70 people were injured in the Jerusalem blast
    28 March: Three people killed and several others severely injured in a nail bomb attack near a bus stop close to the central Israeli town of Kfar Saba. Hamas admits responsibility.
    1 March: One person is killed and nine injured in an explosion in northern Israel. A group calling itself The Battalions of Return says it was responsible.
    8 February: Two car bomb explosions in the heart of the ultra-orthodox area of West Jerusalem. No-one was killed in the first explosion since the election of right-wing Likud leader Ariel Sharon.
    1 January: Car bomb explodes in an ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood of west Jerusalem. One woman injured.
    28 December: At least one bomb explodes on a bus near Tel Aviv, wounding 13 Israelis.

    Tel Aviv bus bomb wreckage
    October 1994: Tel Aviv bus bomb blast
    22 November: Two Israelis killed and 55 wounded by a car bomb that explodes during the rush-hour in northern town of Hadera.
    2 November: Two Israelis killed by a powerful car bomb at central Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market, a frequent target of attacks. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack - which came more than a month after Palestinians began a new uprising against Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza following the collapse of peace talks.
    6 November: A car bomb at the same market kills two suicide bombers from Islamic Jihad and wounds 21.
    4 September: Explosion in west Jerusalem kills eight, including three bombers, and wounds more than 170.

    Jerusalem car bomb Feb. 2000
    Bomb squad inspects wreckage of Thursday's blast
    30 July: Two militants blow themselves up in the Mahane Yehuda market, killing themselves and 16 shoppers.
    31 March: Suicide bomber kills himself and three women at a Tel Aviv cafe.
    4 March: Tel Aviv bomb kills 13.
    3 March: Suicide bomb on a Jerusalem bus kills 19.
    25 February: Suicide bombings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv killed 26. Militant Hamas group claims responsibility.
    21 August: Bomb on a Jerusalem bus kills five and wounds 69.
    24 July: Unidentified suicide bomber kills six passengers and himself on a bus outside Tel Aviv.
    9 April: Islamic Jihad suicide bomber attacks military convoy in Gaza, killing seven soldiers and an American tourist.
    22 January: Two Islamic Jihad militants blow themselves up amid a group of soldiers near Netanya, killing 21.
    11 November: Islamic Jihad militant sets off bomb near Netzarim settlement in Gaza, killing three officers.
    19 October: Hamas militant sets off bomb killing 23 on a Tel Aviv bus.
    13 April: Hamas bomb kills five and injures 30 in Hadera north of Tel Aviv.
    6 April: Hamas car bomb in Afula kills eight and wounds 44. Hamas says attack was revenge for killing of 29 Palestinians by a settler.

    Monday, 20 August, 2001, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK

    Palestinians pile sheep carcasses in a field near Nablus in the West Bank
    Palestinians accuse settlers of poisoning their sheep

    In the second of two special features on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, our correspondent Paul Wood looks at a day in the life of a PLO official as he deals with a community under siege.
    Click here to read Paul Wood's first feature - a day in the life of an Israeli minister.
    For Palestinians, Israeli occupation is sometimes deadly, often humiliating, mostly just plain inconvenient.
    Like all other Palestinians, Saleh Tameri, the senior PLO official in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, is subject to the daily frustration of Israeli roadblocks.
    Whether they travel by foot or by car, how many hours they wait, if they pass at all, is determined for Palestinians by the Israeli occupation forces.

    There is no halfway house between freedom and slavery
    Saleh Tameri
    "Occupation is evil," he says.
    "We are sick, tired and fed up with Israeli occupation and as long as we are under that occupation, we will resist it.

    "When we Palestinians endorsed the peace process, we did so because we thought peace meant freedom.

    "Living under occupation is physical slavery and there is no halfway house between freedom and slavery."

    Drawing a line
    Mr Tameri joined the PLO when Israel seized the West Bank in 1967. He rose to the rank of Brigadier General and has dedicated his life to turning the Israelis out of the occupied territories.
    Today he is a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the senior Palestinian official for dealing with Jewish settlements on the West Bank.
    Together we go to a hillside in Bethlehem overlooking the settlement of Har Homa - to the Palestinians it is known as Jabal-abu-Ghneim.
    The Palestinian protest to stop the creation of a Jewish settlement there was led by Saleh Tameri.

    Palestinian woman walks among debris of house demolished by Israeli military in Beit, east Jerusalem
    Israel demolishes Palestinian property built without a permit
    Now, a complete freeze on all building in such settlements is one Palestinian condition for ending their intifada, or uprising.
    The Palestinians say Har Homa represents an attempt by the Israelis to redraw and expand the boundaries of the new state of Israel which might emerge from a final peace agreement.
    "It's like a dagger in the heart of Bethlehem," Mr Tameri says, gesturing in the direction of Har Homa.
    "And on top of this, on top of the occupation, the siege, we have a campaign of assassinations by the Israelis.
    "All this has been going on for 30 years."
    No surrender
    Looking at the surrounding hills, some under Palestinian control, some under Israeli, I ask if there is not enough room for everyone to build.
    "No," he replies. "No, not here. The Israelis took it all."

    Israeli troops escort a settler to site near Hebron, West Bank
    Every Jewish settlement goes up under armed guard
    And if the price of a peace deal with the Israelis is to allow Har Homa to stay, Mr Tameri says it is a price too high to pay.

    At his offices in Bethlehem, Mr Tameri sees a stream of people whose lives are made impossible by the occupation.
    It dominates every aspect of Palestinian existence.
    A woman comes in weeping.
    Since the intifada, she has not been able to find work and now she cannot pay for medical treatment for her mother.
    "The situation here is devastating," Mr Tameri says.
    "Every day we have to deal with dozens of such problems."
    Hard road to peace
    I ask Mr Tameri if he can see an end to the current conflict.
    "We wouldn't have signed the Oslo agreement if we didn't believe that co-existence and peace were inevitable," he says.

    Some people say we are doomed to live together but I believe we are blessed to live together
    Saleh Tameri

    "Some people say we are doomed to live together but I believe we are blessed to live together.
    "Deep in our hearts we know that peace is inevitable.
    "But before then there will be many more tragedies because of the continued occupation by the Israeli forces."
    This is unexpected optimism, especially as the Israelis insist that none of the political issues vital for the Palestinians will be discussed until there have been seven days without violence - and then a six-week "cooling-off" period.
    To the Israeli Government, this is "no negotiation under fire".
    To the Palestinians, it is a demand to call off their intifada unconditionally, to say that more than 500 Palestinians died for nothing.
    No trust
    Mr Tameri accuses the Israelis of acting in bad faith.
    "What did they do before there were any suicide bombers?" he asks.

    Sister of Palestinian activist Samir Abu el-Az at his funeral
    The PLO official see many more tragedies ahead
    "Even then, they did not implement the Oslo agreement: thousands of young Palestinians are still in jail, more settlements are being built, more land is being confiscated.
    "So they are hypocritical at best. They are liars."
    For Mr Tameri, the Israelis have always to aimed to dismantle the Palestinian Authority.
    "They don't want to see a viable Palestinian state, even on one inch of Palestinian soil," he says.
    Palestinians like Saleh Tameri say Israel must understand one simple fact: as long as there is occupation, there will be no peace.

    Thursday, 6 September, 2001, 17:55 GMT 18:55 UK

    Palestinian official sorts through rubble after an Israeli missile attack on a security post in Gaza
    Israeli missiles hit a Palestinian security post on Wednesday

    An Israeli soldier has been killed in an ambush near the Palestinian-controlled town of Tulkarm hours after the army killed two Palestinian activists in the town.
    A helicopter gunship killed the two activists in an attack aimed at a car carrying a local leader of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement - Raed al-Karmi - but he escaped with slight injuries.

    The Israeli army alleged that he had been behind several fatal shootings of Israeli citizens and was planning more attacks.

    Palestinian minister Nabil Shaath condemned the strike as "murder in cold blood", and accused Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of trying to sabotage a possible meeting between his foreign minister, Shimon Peres, and Mr Arafat.
    Israel has a policy of targeting and killing Palestinian militants it blames for attacks on Israelis, saying the Palestinian leadership does nothing to stop the violence.
    A few hours later Palestinian gunmen retaliated by ambushing an Israeli army patrol near Tulkarm, killing one soldier and seriously wounding his female colleague.
    The attack took place on the Israeli side of Green Line between Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
    Blamed for killings
    In its statement, the military held Mr Karmi responsible for the killing of several Israelis, including two shot dead in a West Bank restaurant in January.
    "The Israeli authorities had given al-Karmi's name to the Palestinian Authority for his arrest, but nothing was done to that effect," the statement said.
    The two men who died in Thursday's attack are believed to be junior members of the Fatah movement. Three other people in the vehicle, were wounded, including Mr Karmi.
    A BBC correspondent in Jerusalem says this is the latest in a long line of killings which the Palestinians say are assassinations, but which Israel says are carried out in self-defence.

    Nabil Shaath
    Nabil Shaath: Attack was "murder in cold blood"
    The controversial assassinations policy has been condemned by the international community.
    Even the United States, Israel's closest ally, has criticised what it terms "targeted killings", although Washington insists the Palestinians must do more to fight terror.
    About 60 Palestinians have been killed in this way since the latest Palestinian uprising, or intifada, began a year ago.
    Human rights campaigners say 10 of those were innocent bystanders.
    Amid the continuing violence, the European Union has been trying to arrange a meeting between Israel's foreign minister, Shimon Peres, and Yasser Arafat.
    But Palestinian cabinet minister Nabil Shaath said Thursday's attack was a deliberate attempt to undermine peace moves.
    "It is a continuation to the crimes conducted by Sharon himself or ordered by Sharon in order to foil any new attempt to reach a peaceful settlement," he told reporters.
    Preparations for a meeting, possibly next week, between Mr Peres and Mr Arafat have been continuing for the past several days.
    Buffer zone
    Mr Shaath said Mr Arafat would not go to any meeting unless it also covered diplomatic efforts to broker a peace deal and not just Israel's demand for an end to the Palestinian uprising - which broke out in September 2000 against Israel's occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
    Mr Sharon returned from a three-day visit to Moscow on Thursday where he pushed for Russian to put pressure on the Palestinians to end the violence.
    He was due to consult later in the day with security officials on the army's controversial plan to set up a military buffer zone along Israel's border with the West Bank that would be off-limits to Palestinians and allow troops to arrest intruders.

    Saturday, 8 September, 2001, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK

    Palestinians look through wreckage inside an office of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement
    Israeli gunships rocketed the building

    Israeli helicopter gunships have attacked offices of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah organisation in the West Bank.
    At least two gunships hit Fatah's regional headquarters in the al-Bireh suburb of Ramallah, not far from the Jewish settlement of Psagot, but no casualties were reported.

    I was still inside when I heard some helicopters flying very close to the building - one missile entered the room
    Fatah employee Carlos Zaghlool

    Palestinian sources suggested the attack was an attempt to assassinate a leading Fatah member who had been at a meeting there just before it happened.
    An Israeli army spokesman said the operation was in retaliation for Palestinian gun attacks, with one soldier killed and another seriously injured on Thursday.
    The army accuses Fatah members of regular involvement in attacks.
    Palestinian gunmen in Ramallah and Israeli soldiers guarding the Psagot settlement have frequently exchanged fire since the start of the Palestinian uprising last September.

    A member of the Palestinian police and a crowd of Palestinian on-lookers look through the hole after the Israeli helicopter attack
    Examining the hole left after the attack

    Palestinian witnesses were quoted as saying that damage to the Ramallah offices on Saturday was severe.
    Marwan Barghouti, who leads the Fatah-linked Tanzim militia, said the Israeli helicopters had been aiming for top Fatah official Muhammed Mansour.
    Mr Mansour left the building moments before the attack.
    The Israeli army refused to comment on the accusation.

    Sunday, 9 September, 2001, 13:36 GMT 14:36 UK

    East Jerusalem's old city
    Jerusalem is central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

    Israeli police briefly arrested the Palestinian minister for Jerusalem affairs on Sunday.
    They said that Zyad Abu Zyad had been detained after entering East Jerusalem illegally and later released at a roadblock outside the city limits.

    Palestinian radio said Mr Zyad had been stopped on his way to his office in the city and taken off to Al-Maskubiyah Prison.
    It accused Israel of "targeting Palestinian institutions and leaders" in Jerusalem.
    Sources at the Israeli Public Security Ministry denied the arrest was the result of a specific warrant, and said it was part of a general policy of arresting Palestinians found in Israel without a permit.
    Arrest unprecedented
    Mr Zyad became minister for Jerusalem after the death of his predecessor, popular politician Faisal Husseini, who died in May while attending an anti-Israel conference in Kuwait.

    Faisal Husseini
    Mr Husseini was seen by some Israelis as a moderate

    He has not been registered by the Israeli authorities as a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem.
    His detention marks the first arrest of a Palestinian minister since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994.
    However, Israel shut down the Palestinians' Orient House headquarters in East Jerusalem last month in response to a suicide bombing in the city.
    Mr Husseini had made Orient House the Palestinian HQ in the city and it was regarded as a symbol of the Palestinians' claim to East Jerusalem - an area annexed by Israel in 1967.

    Monday, 10 September, 2001, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK

    An Israeli soldier who suffered from shock in the bomb attack in Naharia
    Israelis fear that they face an enemy within

    By Caroline Hawley in Jerusalem
    Israelis - both Jews and Arabs - are busy digesting the implications of Sunday's suicide bombing in the coastal town of Naharia, which police say was carried out, for the first time, by an Israeli Arab.

    They have identified him from papers he was carrying as Muhammad Habashi, a middle-aged man from the Galilee village of Abu Snan.

    The Arab minority, in its tragic situation is torn between its desire to be an inseparable part of the state of Israel and its desire to be an inseparable part of the Palestinian nation
    Yedioth Ahronoth
    As the authorities await conclusive proof of his identity from DNA tests, many are questioning what could have led an Israeli citizen to blow himself up at a crowded railway station.
    Israeli Arabs are the Palestinians who remained in Israel as most of their compatriots fled in the fighting that followed the country's establishment in 1948.
    They now make up a million-strong community.
    'Second-class citizens'
    But although they carry Israeli citizenship, they complain that they are treated as second-class citizens and that their towns and villages receive significantly less government funding than Jewish municipalities.

    Muhammad Habashi
    Muhammad Habashi is described by Yedioth Ahronoth as an "anomaly"
    Their resentment against Israel, and their identification with the Palestinian cause, increased during the first Palestinian uprising, and, again, during the current conflict.
    The killing, by Israeli troops, of 13 Israeli Arabs demonstrating in support of the uprising last October further inflamed tensions.
    Israeli security officials say that over the past few months some Israeli Arabs have been involved in attacks on Israelis.
    But, as an editorial in the mass circulation newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth points out, most Israeli Arabs have not participated in the Palestinian uprising "despite the years of privation, despite the terribly high poverty rate, despite the clear discrimination that is directed by the state of Israel itself."

    Everyone here is upset - everyone condemns it
    Resident of Abu Snan
    The paper describes Muhammad Habashi, who was a member of Israel's Islamic movement, as an "anomaly," and argues that his suicide attack should not cause Israelis to panic.
    "The Arab minority, in its tragic situation is torn between its desire to be an inseparable part of the state of Israel and its desire to be an inseparable part of the Palestinian nation," Yedioth writes.
    "Thus far, this conflict is resolved every day and every hour on the side of Israeli citizenship."
    Israeli Arabs upset
    The reaction of most Israeli Arabs to the attack bears the argument out.
    "Everyone here is upset," one resident of Abu Snan told Israel radio. "Every one condemns it."
    But the bombing has increased Israelis' fears that they could face an "enemy within" that would be extremely difficult to guard against.
    Israel takes stringent security measures against the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza.
    But it would be almost impossible for it to justify imposing similar restrictions on the movement of its own citizens.

    Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK

    Tails of grounded airlines in the US
    The longer airlines are grounded, the longer trade is disrupted

    If the reaction of markets so far is anything to go by, the world has avoided the worst case scenario of a global economic meltdown after the terrorist attacks on the US.
    With policy makers and central banks pledging to help ward off a recession, shares have recovered lost ground, and "safe haven" assets such as gold and bonds have given up some of the gains made immediately after Tuesday's events.

    Acts of evil will not cripple the markets. Our financial system is, and remains, strong. The American economy is open for business
    Ken Dam
    US Deputy Treasury Secretary
    But the broad feeling in the financial community might best summed up by US Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Robert McTeer when he said it was too soon to know.
    "It will not depend as much on what happened, as how we react," he said.
    Hours after images of the attack appeared around the world, observers feared that subsequent economic turmoil would push some countries into recession.
    But statements from key financial decision-makers sought to reassure markets that the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor would not cause a global slump.
    "Acts of evil will not cripple the markets," said US Deputy Treasury Secretary Ken Dam on Wednesday at the Treasury's first major briefing since the disaster.
    "Our financial system is, and remains, strong. The American economy is open for business."
    Broader impact
    Yet even small implications of the attacks could, nonetheless, together represent an economic burden.

    Grounded FedEx planes
    Most planes are still grounded in the US

    When markets are closed and shares are not traded, investment banks are unable to earn commissions.
    Meanwhile consumers, concerned over the uncertain outlook, postpone spending decisions, hitting the whole retail and manufacturing chain.
    With most US flights still grounded on Thursday, airlines, hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues and stores were already feeling the pinch.
    Also businesses cannot deliver goods. Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone maker, said on Thursday it was too early to predict the impact of halted flights to and from the US on deliveries to customers.
    Honda Motor closed its plant in Canada due to a lack of parts from the US, and said it does not yet know when operations restart.
    Such trials are among the myriad of problems which can, together, cause serious economic difficulties.
    Short-term reaction
    Historically, market reaction to disasters has been short-lived.
    Investment banking giant JP Morgan called the attack a significant though temporary blow but forecast that third quarter growth in the US would be negative.
    "There will not be lasting disruptions to the US economy or its financial system... a return to normalcy should be evident by next week," the bank said.
    But much of New York's financial infrastructure is still buried under piles of rubble.
    US stock markets are not due to open before Friday at the earliest, after their longest period of closure since World War I.
    "We expect the global economic and overall market mood over the next few days to be broadly one of wait and see," said John Llewellyn, Lehman Brothers' global chief economist.
    The big picture
    The long-term outlook depends on the US political and military response.

    ECB President Wim Duisenberg
    No rate cut from the ECB

    American retaliation against an oil producing state could have serious ramifications.
    For now the price of oil has come down after reassuring statements from Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) but such an attack could compound what is still a very delicate situation.
    On a practical front, central banks have kept the financial markets awash with liquidity, in essence offering money at cheap rates similar to a rate cut.
    The US Fed, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) and the European Central Bank (ECB) injected more than $120bn into the global markets on Wednesday.
    The ECB did not cut rates at its policy meeting on Thursday after President Wim Duisenberg said it would be counterproductive.
    Greenspan's return
    The US Fed's next meeting is on 2 October and a half-point cut is expected after seven aggressive rate cuts this year.

    US Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan with President Bush
    Rate cut to support the economy is expected from Greenspan
    Chairman Alan Greenspan returned to Washington from a meeting in Switzerland on Wednesday, sparking rumours of an emergency cut.
    "A rate cut was virtually assured with the (US employment) data last week, and (Tuesday's) events really increase the probability that they come in near term with a larger than a (quarter percentage point) cut," said Kim Rupert, senior economist at Standard & Poor's.
    Co-ordinate action
    The Group of Seven (G7) - US, Japan, Canada, Britain, Germany, Italy and France - finance ministers and central bankers issued a statement on Wednesday saying they were "committed to ensuring this tragedy will not be compounded by disruption to the global economy" and they "stand ready to take further action as necessary".
    "The markets have reacted sensibly. There is no reason to build up a crisis scenario," said German Finance Minister Hans Eichel.
    The G7 finance ministers meeting scheduled for 28 September is expected to take place though the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) could be cancelled.
    But the IMF made an upbeat declaration, saying it forecast only a limited impact on the global economy and that it was ready to help countries that may need it.

    Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK

    Financial markets remained listless in afternoon trade, as the lack of a lead from Wall Street deterred investors.
    European shares were little changed overall, although some of the worst hit stocks in recent days, notably in insurers and travel firms, recovered some ground.

    Markets snapshot, 1700 GMT
    Frankfurt, Dax
    London, FTSE 100
    Closed +1.3%
    Paris, Cac 40
    Closed unchanged
    Tokyo, Nikkei 225
    Closed +0.03%
    The dollar showed only small movement as sense of calm and certainty continued to re-establish itself among markets following the turmoil prompted Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the US.
    But with US stock exchanges closed until Friday at the earliest, many European and Asian investors, who are waiting to discover how American shares will react to the terrorist atrocities, have been reluctant to deal.
    The price of US bonds surged after trading resumed on Thursday, over hopes that American interest rates will be cut to help shield the economy from the after-effects of the attacks.
    The US Treasury confirmed that it would launch a sale of government bonds on Monday, in the hope of raising $4.6bn in short-term funding.
    Stabilising markets
    Traders credited the renewed stability in markets largely on the pledges by governments, central banks and economic authorities around the world to seek ways to help stabilise the world financial system.
    Authorities have promised, following the attacks, to boost the global economy by making it easy and cheap for companies to borrow money to spend and invest.
    While the European Central Bank (ECB) declined to take the opportunity to cut interest rates on Thursday following a scheduled rates meeting, the bank's steady-as-she-goes policy had been widely forecast.
    ECB president Wim Duisenberg had warned against hasty rate cuts, saying they could give the impression of panic.
    Longest closure
    The decision to suspend trading in New York on Thursday, the third day running, marks the longest continued closure of the markets since World War I.
    The chairman of the New York Stock Exchange Richard Grasso said his priority was to ensure the rescue effort could go ahead unhindered.
    "We don't want to bring hundreds of thousands of people into Manhattan that could in any way impede that recovery process", he said on Thursday.
    Stock market officials also want to ensure that telephone and IT systems are working properly before trading resumes.
    The BBC's North American Business Correspondent Patrick O'Connell in New York said the decision had been made "not because of damage to buildings, but because of damage to telecoms equipment", which is key to any electronic trading.
    Tokyo trading
    The start of trading on the Tokyo stock market was again delayed for 30 minutes, and price limits were also halved for the second day in a row.
    The opening saw the Nikkei 225 index rise 72 points in the first few minutes but quickly fell more than 100 points into negative territory.
    But at the end of the day, the benchmark Nikkei index closed virtually unchanged, up just 2.99 points at 9,613.09.
    Subdued session
    Leading shares in London opened slightly lower, as investors moved to take profits after Wednesday's robust gains.
    But the main FTSE 100 index recovered to spend most of the morning in positive territory, with hotels firm Six Continents and insurer Royal Sun Alliance staging a recovery following heavy mid-week losses.
    The index closed up, gaining 61.5 points to 4,943.6.
    "Tragic as the events of the last two days are, the market has over-reacted in the context of most European insurance stocks," investment bank Morgan Stanley said in a research note.
    Analysts are predicting a further boost in orders for the defence sector, as the US steps up spending in the wake of Tuesday's attacks.
    Canada split
    In Toronto, the only North American market to trade as normal on Thursday, shares in oil and mining companies slumped, as commodity prices failed to follow up on their post-attack surge.
    At the same time, Canadian bank and technology shares leapt, buoyed by hopes that a likely US rate cut could stimulate the broader American economy.
    In Germany, Munich Re stock surged more than 6%, leading insurers high.
    Stocks active in Paris - which closed almost unchanged - included luxury goods maker LVMH, which fell 7.7% on lowered profits targets, and shares in broadcaster TF1, which slumped 13% over a forecast of collapsing advertising revenues.

    Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 16:20 GMT 17:20 UK

    Vigil in Munich, Germany
    Vigils were held around Europe for the victims

    European countries are still trying to track down information about their citizens after Tuesday's aircraft attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

    To watch two planes crash into the two buildings and then discovering afterwards that your sister and your niece were on the plane was absolutely horrific
    John Clifford
    Two Irish citizens and four Germans are confirmed to have died and UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said that the number of Britons confirmed dead is approaching 100.
    Speaking before an emergency cabinet session on Thursday, Mr Straw said the UK final toll was likely to exceed the "middle hundreds".
    Worried people from across Europe have been calling special government hotlines, trying to establish the fate of their friends and family.
    The towers of the World Trade Centre housed many of the big names in international finance, including several of the leading European banks.
    Irish fears receding
    In France, the Credit Agricole bank said that 86 of its employees who worked on the 92nd floor of the World Trade Centre remained unaccounted for.
    Ruth McCourt from the Republic of Ireland and her four-year-old daughter, Juliana, were on board the United Airlines flight which ploughed into the side of the World Trade Centre's south tower.

    Ruth McCourt and daughter Juliana
    Ruth McCourt was on her way to Los Angeles with four-year-old Juliana
    By a twist of fate, her brother, Ronnie had just walked into the building and made a miraculous escape.
    "To watch two planes crash into the two buildings and then discovering afterwards that your sister and your niece were on the plane was absolutely horrific," said Ruth's brother, John Clifford who saw the crash on television from his home in Cork.
    The close ties between Ireland and the US and the massive Irish-American diaspora have left the country, described by some as the "51st state," feeling particularly stunned by Wednesday's events.
    The Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it has received between 2,500 and 3,000 calls to its dedicated phone lines and has set up a database of those unaccounted for.
    A spokeswoman said that as people managed to re-establish contact with their relatives the numbers feared dead were dropping.
    Day of mourning
    In Germany, officials said four Germans had been on board the hijacked planes.
    One was a stewardess, while the other three were businessmen from the Baden-Wuerttemberg region.

    American embassy in Dublin
    Ireland has felt the attack particularly strongly
    Mr Volmer warned that the number of German victims was likely to rise.
    "We know that several German firms were located in the World Trade Centre and the affected buildings round about and that employees may have been there at the time of the catastrophe," he said.
    A spokeswoman for the ministry said the number of Germans feared dead was changing by the hour and there had been no confirmed information out of New York.
    Around 20,000 calls had been made to the ministry's hotline, she said, though many people had phoned simply to express their sorrow at the events.
    A day of mourning and a three-minute silence for all the victims of the attacks will take place across the European Union's 15 member states at 1000GMT (1100 BST, 1200CEST) on Friday.
    The Council of Europe has also asked for the silence to be observed across its 43 member states, covering 800m people.

    Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 13:43 GMT 14:43 UK

    A commemorative carpet of flowers is laid in Frankfurt
    A commemorative carpet of flowers is laid in Frankfurt

    The victims of Tuesday's attacks in New York and Washington are being commemorated across Europe.
    Ten thousand church bells pealed in Austriaon Thursday to mark the start of a three-minute silence across the nation.

    Across the border in Germany transport was halted, and radio and television stations stopped their transmissions to observe five minutes of silence.

    Teachers will remind students that no cause can justify blind violence or fanaticism
    French Education Minister Jack Lang
    Flags nationwide were lowered to half-mast.
    In the UK, the BBC has announced that it is changing the traditional programme for the Last Night of the Proms on Saturday - rousing anthems will be replaced by more reflective sombre pieces of music.
    In an unprecedented move the US national anthem was played during the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, in a ceremony attended by the US ambassador, William Farish.
    And in France, all football matches next weekend will begin with a one-minute silence.
    Education Minister Jack Lang has told teachers to stand ready to assist any pupils seeking answers to Tuesday's horrific attacks.

    A Russian kneels amid floral tributes outside the US embassy in Moscow
    A Russian kneels amid floral tributes outside the US embassy in Moscow
    "Teachers will remind students that no cause can justify blind violence or fanaticism," he said.
    On Wednesday, European Union foreign ministers declared Friday an EU-wide day of mourning, and asked all Europeans to observe a three-minute silence at 1000GMT (1100BST).
    The Council of Europe reiterated that call on Thursday in an appeal to its 43 member states.
    "I appeal to the 800 million citizens in the Council of Europe member states to join us in this moment of grief, in an expression of our deepest sympathy with the victims and their families, and of our solidarity with the government of the United States," said the organisation's General Secretary, Walter Schwimmer.

    What happened is not only the pain of the US, it's the world's pain
    Entry in Ukraine's book of condolences
    The Irish Republic is coming to a virtual standstill on Friday. Government departments and schools are closing, along with major shops, pubs and restaurant chains.
    Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and President Mary McAleese will attend a service in Dublin Cathedral.
    Russia held a minute's silence on Thursday, with broadcasters interrupting their programmes at the appointed time.
    Some telephone companies offered free calls to hotline numbers in the United States and Canada.
    Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma also declared Thursday a day of mourning and solidarity with the American people, and a three-minute silence was held.
    "What happened is not only the pain of the US, it's the world's pain," wrote one contributor in a book of condolences at the US embassy in Kiev.
    Hungarian fire engines hung black ribbons from their radio aerials in memory of the New York firefighters who died in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks.
    All public buildings were to fly black flags on Friday.
    Croatia and Albania declared Friday a day of national mourning.

    Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK

    Graphic showing robotic cutting gear
    The sawn-off bow section will remain on the sea bed

    The bow of the Russian nuclear submarine, the Kursk, has been sawn off, allowing an attempt to lift it from the sea bed to be scheduled for Tuesday 25 September.
    Bad weather and problems with the huge robotic saw used to cut through submarine's hull had led to fears that the lifting would have to be postponed until next year.

    Map of the region
    The submarine sank in the Barents Sea on 12 August 2000, after two massive on-board explosions, resulting in the death of all 118 crew.
    President Vladimir Putin vowed to raise the submarine this year in order to give the sailors a proper burial.
    Russian authorities also want to recover the nuclear reactors, and hope to discover the cause of the disaster by examining the wreck.
    A spokesman for the Dutch contractors leading the salvage operation, Lars Walder, said the most difficult task remaining would be to loosen the submarine from the sea bed by dragging a steel wire underneath it.

    19 September: lifting barge due on site
    25 September: lifting
    28 September: Kursk arrives in dock
    A giant barge which will tow the Kursk to a floating dock once it has been raised is already in the Norwegian port of Kirkenes, and is due on site on 19 September.
    Under the new schedule the Kursk should arrive at the dock in Roslyakovo on Russia's Kola peninsula by 28 September.
    But under the original plan, announced at the start of the operation, the lifting operation was due to have taken place around 15 September.
    Divers will now "seal" the front end of the wreck with a thick metal sheet to prevent more water entering during the lifting, and destabilising the operation.
    Although weather conditions on Thursday were reported to be good, the risk of bad weather remains.

    Inside the Kursk - a picture from 1994
    Important clues may remain in the bow section
    Russian meteorologists say the probability of good weather is diminishing and that cyclones are expected in the second half of the month.
    Experts say that attempts to determine the cause of the disaster will be hampered by the fact that the most crucial evidence is likely to be in the 25-metre bow section that will remain for now on the sea bed.
    This section, which contains the torpedo bay, is where the explosions occurred.
    Russian authorities plan to raise it to the surface at a later date.
    The Russian navy initially blamed the disaster on a collision with a Western vessel.
    A subsequent investigation suggested the cause was most likely to have been an accident in the torpedo bay, but left open the possibility that a collision had been contributing factor.

    Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 16:08 GMT 17:08 UK

    Armed patrols at Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris
    European airport security has already been tightened

    European transport ministers are holding emergency talks in Brussels on Friday in the wake of the US terror attacks.
    The attacks have posed security nightmares, introducing the world to a new threat - the suicide hijacker.

    The UK's Stephen Byers will join his EU counterparts for the talks, to discuss whether new measures are needed.
    European airport security is already tougher than the US procedures which were in place before the attacks.

    World Trade Center tower burning
    The concept of the suicide hijacker did not exist before Tuesday
    But EU Transport Commissioner Loyola de Palacio said: "A lot more work has to be done. There are areas which can be improved."
    She said officials were working on "specific aspects of security" including luggage checks and upgraded police patrols.
    New measures may also be brought in so that flights across Europe can be tracked more efficiently in the event of a crisis.
    "If there is no integration, you can lose connections, lose contact. If you have a single sky, you can assure more security," said Ms De Palacio.

    Italian policeman guards American Airlines site
    Italians have deployed armed guards at airports 
    The EU ministers would be looking at "the possibilities that exist to make sure that this sort of event should never be able to occur", she said.
    The transport ministers had already been due to hold informal talks in Belgium at the weekend.
    The whole agenda and tone will now be completely different.
    On-board security
    Hijacking procedures will be discussed, as well as how to maximise security.
    The Israeli practice of placing anti-terrorist officers on flight will also be considered.
    One result of the US atrocities is expected to be more frequent meetings between European ministers, as the member states put into practice their pledge to do more to tackle terrorism.

    Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 18:35 GMT 19:35 UK

    World Trade Center scene
    Five are reported to have been pulled from the ruins on Thursday

    President Bush has promised that America will "lead the world to victory" over terrorism in a conflict he described as the first war of the 21st century.
    Speaking to reporters in the White House, an emotional Mr Bush said he saw an opportunity to "do generations a favour by coming together and whipping terrorism."

    Make no mistake about it, my resolve is steady and strong about winning this war that has been declared on America
    President Bush
    Two days after the terror attacks, five firefighters were found alive under the rubble of the World Trade Center.
    Almost 5,000 people remain missing in New York, the victims buried beneath the wreckage of the World Trade Center, the mayor says. Another 190 people are thought to have died in the Pentagon in Washington.
    The manhunt for the mastermind behind the suicide mission has turned into a global operation. In Germany, officials detained a man and said two of the suspected hijackers had lived in Hamburg until earlier this year.
    In other developments:
    • The White House declares Friday a national day of prayer and remembrance.
    • Nato and Russia pledge increased co-operation to defeat the "scourge of terrorism".
    • In the FBI's biggest ever operation, many of the hijackers have been identified - some were trained as pilots in the US.
    • Secretary of State Colin Powell confirms Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden is a prime suspect.
    • But the Taleban in Afghanistan reject the accusations against him.
    • Congress prepares to vote $20bn in funds for emergency relief.
    • US airports are reopening amid stringent security case by case basis.

    Resident with Thank You placard
    Exhausted fire crews were honoured by residents

    President Bush, who held a conference call with New York's Governor George Pataki and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, said he planned to visit the city on Friday.
    He also said Americans should resist any temptation to retaliate for the New York and Washington attacks by targeting individual, innocent Arab-Americans and Muslims.
    "Now's the time for the country to be united", he said.
    In New York, distraught relatives are carrying photographs of their loved ones onto the city streets in attempts to trace them.

    But with no flood of injured victims reaching hospital, the worst fears for the missing appear to have been confirmed.
    Mr Guiliani warned that the current figure of 4,763 missing may not represent an accurate death toll.
    Several hundred firemen and police officers remain among those unaccounted for. Many foreigners are also dead, including at least 100 from the UK.
    In Washington, Pentagon officials said they now estimated around 190 people died when a plane ploughed into the defence building. This includes 64 people on board the airliner.
    Unprecedented search
    The scale of the US search for those behind the attacks is unprecedented.
    The authorities are throwing all their resources at the case - more than 4,000 FBI special agents, with more than 3,000 support staff.

    Death toll
    All 266 on board the four planes
    About 190 feared dead at the Pentagon
    94 bodies found at the WTC, but thousands thought to remain inside
    Nearly 100 Britons confirmed dead
    At least 259 rescue workers missing, feared dead
    New York orders 11,000 body bags
    The FBI has been following up hundreds of leads and conducted searches in different locations across the country.
    CNN television reported that one suspect arrested in Florida is helping the FBI.
    Adnan Bakhari, said to be a Saudi pilot, was arrested on Wednesday, after police seized a rented car in Maine.
    Investigators raided two Boston area hotels thought to have been used by the hijackers.
    A car believed to belong to the hijackers was also confiscated in Boston, and officials said it contained an Arabic-language flight manual.
    US Attorney General John Ashcroft said he believed some of them had trained as pilots in the US.
    The FBI said they believed there were 18 hijackers on board the four hijacked planes.

    Two airliners were crashed into the twin towers
    Thousands of workers remain missing
    They had been armed with knives, and in some cases there were bomb threats.
    Washington suspects the mastermind behind the attacks is Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden.
    But the supreme leader of Afghanistan's ruling Taleban, Mullah Mohammad Omar, said Mr Bin Laden could not be held responsible as only trained pilots could have carried out the attacks.
    "The incidents which took place in America are testimony to Osama Bin Laden's innocence because where are Osama's pilots and where were they trained?" Mullah Omar told the Afghan Islamic Press, a Pakistan-based news agency with close links to the Taleban.
    Correspondents say his remarks indicate the Taleban, who have sheltered Mr Bin Laden since the mid 1990s, have no intention of bowing to pressure to hand him over.

    NATO and Russia are united in their resolve not to let those responsible for such an inhuman act go unpunished
    Joint Nato-Russian statement
    US airspace, closed since the attacks, was reopened at 1100EDT (1500GMT) on Thursday, with airports being allowed to resume operations on a case-by-case basis.
    US Transport Secretary Norman Mineta said airports would implement much tougher security measures.
    Fresh support from the US came in a rare joint statement by Nato and Russia on Thursday, pledging increased co-operation to defeat the "scourge" of terrorism.
    "The horrific scale of the attacks of 11 September is without precedent in modern history," the statement said.
    "Nato and Russia call on the entire international community to unite in the struggle against terrorism."

    Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK

    President Bush in Oval Office
    President Bush on the telephone to New York's mayor

    US President George W Bush has warned Americans not to blame Arab-Americans for the terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
    "We must be mindful that, as we seek to win the war, we treat Arab-Americans with the respect they deserve," Mr Bush said.

    "There are thousands of Arab-Americans who live in New York City who love their flag," the president said. "We should not hold one who is a Muslim responsible for an act of terror."

    He was speaking on the telephone to New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and New York State Governor George Pataki.

    His warning comes after reports of violence against mosques and Arab-Americans.
    In Chicago, police turned back some 300 people as they marched on a mosque in the southwest of the city.
    Three of the demonstrators were arrested.

    As a Muslim and an American, I am very upset at the loss of innocent lives...Killing of innocents is not a teaching of Islam, nor the display of such cruelty
    Khalid, Chicago
    email to BBC

    Also in Chicago, a firebomb was reported to have been thrown at an Arab-American community centre.
    In Texas, shots were fired at another mosque, while Arab-American groups in several US cities say they have received death threats by phone, and hate messages on internet sites.

    In New York, Mayor Giuliani has promised police protection for neighbourhoods with large numbers of Arab-Americans.
    Mosques and Islamic centres in other cities were placed under 24-hour police guard.
    Double tragedy
    President of the Arab American Institute Dr James Zogby told BBC News Online it had been a trauma for all Americans, including Arab-Americans, many of whom had lost friends and relatives in the disaster.

    Two Arab-American women
    Arab-Americans volunteered to give blood
    "Arab-Americans are as afraid, grieving and mourning as everyone else. But for us it's a double tragedy, because while we grieve, we're forced to look over our shoulder."
    Dr Zogby said he had received several death threats and was arranging security for his office.
    "I take such threats seriously since my office was fire-bombed in 1980," he said.
    Pearl Harbour
    "Regardless of who is ultimately found to be responsible for these terrorist murders, no ethnic or religious community should be treated as suspect and collectively blamed," the Arab American Institute, based in Washington, said.

    An estimated three million US inhabitants trace their roots to an Arab country
    82% of Arab-Americans are US citizens
    One third live in New York, Los Angeles, or Detroit
    Almost half of Arab-Americans descend from Lebanese ancestors
    In 1990 average income was $39,580

    The chairman of the Arab-American Business and Professional Association in Washington, Fuad Sahouri, drew a parallel with what happened to Japanese-Americans in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbour, to which Tuesday's attacks have been frequently compared.
    "We don't want to be excluded or insulated or treated how Japanese-Americans were treated," he said.
    "It's very important right now for Arab-Americans that their loyalty never be brought into question.
    "We are Americans first."
    Arab roots
    There are thought to be around 3m US inhabitants who have roots in the Arab world.
    Of these, the largest community is in Los Angeles, but the most influential group live in the Detroit and Dearborn area of Michigan, where about 300,000 Muslims live.
    Arab-Americans are thought to have voted heavily in favour of Mr Bush in the presidential election.
    Their most prominent political representative is the former Republican senator for Michigan, Spencer Abraham.
    Mr Abraham is now President Bush's Energy Secretary.

    Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK

    Woman witness
    One woman was taken in for questioning 

    Police in the north German city of Hamburg have arrested a man in connection with the terror attacks on the United States.

    There is a suspicion that, since the beginning of this year, a group has been founded in Hamburg... to attack the United States in a spectacular way through the destruction of symbolic buildings
    German Federal Prosecutor
    The chief of the state police gave no details of the man's age or nationality, but told a press conference that he had a job "connected to air transport" and had worked at an airport.
    Federal prosecutors are also trying to hunt down another suspect - a man of Arab origin, known to them by name - and are investigating what they describe as a Hamburg-based terrorist network.
    The man would face charges including membership of a terrorist organisation, murder and an attack on air traffic, said chief federal prosecutor Kay Nehm.
    A statement from Mr Nehm's office said the goal of the network under investigation was to co-operate with like-minded groups to carry out violent acts and attack the United States.
    "There is a suspicion that, since the beginning of this year, a group has been founded in Hamburg... with the aim of carrying out serious crimes together with other Islamic fundamentalist groups abroad, to attack the United States in a spectacular way through the destruction of symbolic buildings".
    Florida connection
    German police were tipped off by the FBI on Wednesday night and carried out raids on eight flats in the city.

    Mohammed Atta
    Mohammed Atta was registered at a Hamburg address
    The man who was arrested was seized during the raid and an undisclosed number of other people were detained, including a woman from one of the flats who is being questioned as a witness.
    Three men who were on the passenger lists of the hijacked planes were registered as Hamburg residents.
    Two of them, Mohammed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi, are reported to have lived in Florida from July 2000 to January 2001 where they attended flying school.
    Electronics students
    According to their registration documents, both men came from the United Arab Emirates. They were enrolled as students at the city's technical university taking courses in shipbuilding and electronics.

    Policei in Hamburg protect the identity of a detainee
    Police detained an undisclosed number of people in the raids
    Hamburg's Interior Minister, Olaf Scholz, said the two men had lived legally in Germany.
    "It is evident that they avoided doing anything that would bring them to the attention of police or the immigration authorities," he said.
    They are believed to have lived at one of the addresses searched by police in Wednesday night's raids in the Harburg part of the city.
    The flat has been empty since February this year and police found the rooms had been carefully cleaned though experts still hope to find traces of the two men.
    BBC Berlin Correspondent Rob Broomby says Hamburg has long had a reputation for attracting Islamic extremists, with allegations that activists in the city had raised money for Osama Bin Laden.
    The head of the Hamburg state department for the protection of the constitution, Reinhard Wagner, confirmed that the city has connections to the Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden.
    Mr Wagner said that aides "who have a role in Bin Laden's logistics, possibly as intermediaries for contacts or accommodation," were based in the city.
    However Mr Nehm said that the Hamburg network under federal investigation was not known to have links with Mr Bin Laden.

    Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK

    Osama Bin Laden
    Bin Laden is both the US and Russia's sworn enemy

    Both friends and rivals of the US have declared war on terrorism in the wake of Tuesday's devastating attack on New York and Washington.
    "We're building a strong coalition to go after these perpetrators, but, more broadly, to go after terrorism wherever we find it in the world," said US Secretary General Colin Powell.

    Russia and Nato issued a joint statement on Thursday declaring that those responsible for the strikes would be punished.
    "Nato and Russia are united in their resolve not to leave unpunished those responsible for such inhuman acts," said a statement from the Nato-Russia joint council which was meeting in Brussels.

    The Kremlin flew its flags at half-mast as a mark of respect 
    In an unprecedented move, Nato had earlier declared that Tuesday's attack on the United States could be considered an attack on the entire 19-nation alliance.

    Nato Secretary-General George Robertson said this meant that the United States had support from its Nato partners for military action if it was determined that the attacks had been directed from abroad.
    "An attack on one is an attack on all," he said after Nato decided for the first time in its 52-year history to invoke Article Five - the mutual defence clause.
    US Secretary of State Colin Powell has stressed that the fight against terrorism should not be limited to North America and US allies in Europe, but should include Muslim nations.
    Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, whose country is one of only three to recognise Taleban rule in Afghanistan, has promised "unstinted co-operation".
    Pakistan has helped the US in the past, extraditing Ramzi Yousef, accused of carrying out an attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.
    But King Abdullah II of Jordan, traditionally a US ally, has said the attacks would not have taken place had the Middle East problem been resolved.

    Beijing policeman diverts cyclist approaching US Embassy
    China has upped security around US facilities
    China has signalled its support for fighting terrorism - but up to a point.
    President Jiang Zemin said China was ready to "strengthen dialogue and cooperation with the US and the international community in combating all manner of terrorist violence".
    But Vice Foreign Minister Wang Guangya urged the US to consult other countries before taking action through Nato.
    Even within Nato there is not unconditional support for US action in the wake of the attacks, with Norway making clear it does not want to go to war on behalf of the US.
    Times change
    Outside Nato, Russia has made it clear that it is willing to help.
    Russian Foreign Ministry adviser Yevgeny Bazhanov explained to the BBC's Today programme that Moscow was itself interested in tracking down Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden, a major suspect in the attacks:
    "Bin Laden fought against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 80s, he fights against Russia in Chechnya... so of course we are ready to fight him as much as possible".

    We are ready to fight him [Bin Laden] as much as possible
    Russian Foreign Ministry adviser Yevgeny Bazhanov

    Ironically, it was the perceived threat from the Soviet Union which led to the signing of Nato's Article Five in April 1949 which commits Nato to assist any member who comes under attack.
    It is now being applied in the wake of a very different scenario - a massive terrorist attack.
    BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Marcus says Nato's resolution is of huge symbolic importance, designed to show that Washington's European allies share the sense of the gravity of the situation.
    He says that given the secretive nature of counter-terrorist operations, Washington may well want to act alone.
    But allied support could involve measures such as opening airspace or bases to US forces.

    Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK

    German police raided a Hamburg flat on an FBI tip-off

    The FBI says the identities of many of those involved in the terror attacks on America are known.
    It is thought there were three to six hijackers, armed with knives, on each of the four planes that hit targets including the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon on Tuesday.

    There have been unconfirmed reports that rescue teams have found the body of one of the terrorists involved in the attacks - and the body of an air stewardess with her hands tied behind her back.
    • About 7,000 FBI agents in biggest manhunt in US history
    • Three to six hijackers thought to be on each of four planes
    • The FBI says it has identified as many as 50 people involved in the suicide attacks and say some were trained as pilots in the US
    • German police arrest man in Hamburg
    • Two suspects linked to Hamburg flats
    • FBI quiz man in Florida, say reports
    • Mexico border authorities on alert
    • Two Boston hotels raided.
    About 7,000 agents involved in the biggest manhunt in American history are searching for as many as 50 others reported to have helped execute the plan.
    German police, acting on an FBI tip-off, arrested a man on Thursday after a swoop on a Hamburg flat where two of the suspected terrorists are believed to have lived.
    'Pilot' quizzed
    The suspects, Mohamed Atta, 33, and Marwan Al-Shehhi, 23, were each on one of the two planes which smashed into the World Trade Center, said Hamburg security officials.
    It is thought they were trained for their devastating mission at a flying school in Florida.
    According to German records, both men are from the United Arab Emirates.
    German prosecutors said they were investigating a Hamburg-based terrorist network formed "to attack the United States in a spectacular way through the destruction of symbolic buildings".
    CNN reported that another suspect arrested in Florida is helping the FBI.
    Adnan Bakhari, described as a Saudi pilot, was arrested on Wednesday, after police seized a rented car in Maine.
    Mexico alert

    Mohamed Atta: Suspect
    Officials at Ciudad Juarez airport close to Mexico's border with the United States say that US authorities have asked them to look out for six people suspected of involvement.
    Three of the six are said to hold Pakistani passports.
    Airport security chief, Juan Carlos Martinez, said he believed that the US authorities had given similar information to other Mexican airports along the 2,000km border with the United States.
    Law enforcement agents also searched homes and businesses in Florida in connection with the attacks, focusing on the Huffman Aviation School where two suspects may have received flight training.
    In Boston, a car believed to belong to the hijackers was confiscated. Officials said it contained an Arabic-language flight manual.
    Thailand search
    Investigators also raided two Boston area hotels thought to have been used by the hijackers. In one room a link was found to a name on one of the flight passenger lists.
    In Thailand, security police say they are on the lookout for 15 Arab men wanted by the CIA in connection with Tuesday's devastation.
    Mr Mueller said the bureau had established command posts at the places of origin and destination of the flights, where the investigation was being assisted by:

    • 4,000 special agents
    • 3,000 support personnel
    • More than 400 laboratory personnel.

    One group of hijackers is believed to have crossed from Canada and to have had ties to Mr Bin Laden.

    The FBI is dealing with 700 leads from the public and has set up a website containing a form people can use to report any new information on the attacks.
    US Attorney General John Ashcroft also said the government had "credible evidence" that both the White House and the presidential jet, Air Force One, had been targeted in the attacks.

    Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 00:53 GMT 01:53 UK
    Nato agrees to back US

    Nato Secretary-General George Robertson
    An attack on the US is an attack on Nato

    In an unprecedented move, Nato has declared that Tuesday's attack on the United States can be considered an attack on the entire 19-nation alliance.
    Nato Secretary General George Robertson said this meant that the United States had support from its Nato partners for military action if it was determined that the attacks were directed from abroad.

    The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them... will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area
    Article Five
    April 1949

    "An attack on one is an attack on all," said Lord Robertson in Brussels, where Nato ambassadors decided for the first time in Nato's 52-year history to invoke Article Five - the North Atlantic Treaty's mutual defence clause.
    But just hours later, one of the alliance members - Norway - made clear that it did not want to go to war on behalf of the US.
    "Norway is not in a state of war and does not want to enter a war," said Foreign Minister Thorbjoern Jagland, while acknowledging that his country was nonetheless obliged to back the US if requested to do so.
    Article Five was signed in April 1949 to confront the threat of what was then the Soviet Union. It commits Nato to assist any member who comes under attack.
    It is now being applied in the wake of a very different scenario - a massive terrorist attack.

    Huge symbolism
    The BBC's defence correspondent, Jonathan Marcus, says Nato's resolution is of huge symbolic importance, designed to show that Washington's European allies share the sense of the gravity of the situation.
    He says given the secretive nature of counter-terrorist operations, Washington may well want to act alone.
    But allied support could involve measures such as opening airspace or bases to US forces.
    Our correspondent says Nato is in the process of slowly adapting itself to new challenges, among them the threat of global terrorism.
    But, he says, events have forced the pace, as this dramatic decision by Nato indicates.
    The Nato ambassadors earlier agreed to make available the Nato rescue and disaster relief unit, known as EADRCC, to coordinate emergency assistance to US authorities.

    Wednesday, 12 September, 2001, 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK

    Rescue teams with a dog, searching for survivors and bodies
    Many teams have earthquake rescue experience

    Worldwide offers of rescue teams, aid and blood donations followed the initial reaction of shock, sadness and disbelief at the disastrous attacks in New York and Washington.
    The European Commission has announced that it has more than 600 experts with a wide variety of skills ready to leave for New York to help with rescue efforts, once the US reopens its airspace.

    Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat donates blood at Shifa hospital in the Gaza Strip
    Yasser Arafat launched a blood drive in Gaza
    "The European network of catastrophe experts is mobilised and ready to furnish its assistance to the United States and to victims on the ground if they need it," Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom said in a statement.
    Commissioner Wallstrom opened a crisis centre late Tuesday to co-ordinate aid from various European countries to the United States.
    Ten Belgian specialists in burn treatment and victim identification are waiting in Iceland for US airports to open, the European statement said.
    About 500 French search and rescue experts were also prepared to leave, as were specialists from Sweden, Ireland, Spain and the Netherlands.
    The Czech Republic plans to send a six-member team that participated in various earthquake rescue missions, Czech radio reported.
    Israel, too, said it was poised to send to New York rescue teams who had helped sift through the devastation after Turkey's massive 1999 earthquake.
    Blood drive
    And Magen David Adom, the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross, has been collecting blood donations for victims of the attacks, as have similar services in Russia and Kuwait.
    Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat launched a blood drive in the Gaza Strip by donating blood himself.
    "As you know, I said in my letter to President Bush yesterday that we put our modest capabilities at the disposal of the US president and people in light of this horrible incident," Mr Arafat told journalists.
    The Canadian Red Cross said it was mobilising its disaster response teams to help people find their families.
    And Japanese Prime Minister Junichi Koizumi said his government would "consider dispatching emergency international relief teams, and it will get ready to swiftly respond to requests for their dispatch."
    Germany's Defence Minister, Rudolf Scharping, said Germany would send the US an Airbus A-310 to carry the injured, and offered Washington several other aircraft.
    And the German media giant Bertelsmann said it was donating $2m (1.82m euros) to the families of the police and firefighters who were killed in the rescue operations.

    Wednesday, 12 September, 2001, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK

    Some Palestinians in Lebanon celebrated the attacks

    Middle East leaders have condemned the attacks in the United States as unimaginable and horrible.
    But on the streets of Arab capitals, many people say they are not surprised and a few are even celebrating, seeing the attacks as punishment for America's support for Israel.

    It a humanitarian duty to console the American people on this memorable day characterised by this grave and horrible incident
    Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi
    The Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, said he was saddened by the attacks while Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said he was shocked by what he described as an unbelievable disaster.
    Iraq provided the only official voice of dissent. One newspaper described the attacks as a "lesson for all tyrants and oppressors" and the "fruit" of American crimes.
    Hardline states

    But four other hardline states in the region that have been accused by the United States of sponsoring terrorism - Libya, Syria, Sudan and Iran - were quick to condemn the attacks.
    Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said that despite political differences with America, it was "a humanitarian duty to console the American people on this memorable day characterised by this grave and horrible incident".
    Iranian President Mohammad Khatami "expressed deep regret and sympathy with the victims" and said it was "an international duty to try to undermine terrorism".
    Sudan and Syria also offered condolences to the families of innocent American victims.

    Syrians read about the attacks against Washington and New York
    People in the Arab world were stunned by the attack

    Regional leaders are painfully aware that Israel could win greater international sympathy for its military actions against Palestinian opponents as a result of the attacks.
    Arab diplomacy has recently focused on trying to get the United States to exert pressure on Israel in order to restart peace talks with the Palestinians.
    An Arab link to the attacks can only harden American public opinion and make such pressure even less likely.
    American suspicions
    As American suspicions turn towards Palestinian groups and the dissident Saudi Islamist, Osama Bin Laden, leaders in the region must be hoping that no Arab group will be implicated.
    The Palestinian Islamist movements, Jihad and Hamas, disassociated themselves from the attacks but said that American policy was to blame.
    Mr Arafat meanwhile, has expressed a willingness to help track down the perpetrators.
    The Palestinian authority is said to have ordered youths in the occupied territories not to congregate or show any signs of jubilation.
    But in Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank and Lebanon, shots were fired in celebration and some said that as Israel's chief backer, the United States deserved this punishment.

    Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 03:37 GMT 04:37 UK

    Israeli tank outside Jenin
    Palestinians reported heavy fighting in Jenin and Jericho

    Palestinian officials say Israeli forces have killed three Palestinians and wounded 11 in a new incursion into the West Bank town of Jenin.
    Israeli tanks had also rolled into the Palestinian-controlled town the previous night. At least seven Palestinians were reported killed in the earlier clashes.

    Palestinian officials said Israeli forces attacked a local government building in Jenin on Thursday.

    Jenin and Jericho location map
    Heavy fighting was also reported in Palestinian-controlled Jericho further south, where Palestinian officials said some 20 Israeli tanks accompanied by bulldozers made an incursion.
    Loudspeakers on mosques called people out to defend the town against the invading Israeli forces, witnesses said.
    The Israeli army said it had no comment on the reported incursion into Jericho.
    "There is fierce resistance to the Israelis. The tanks are moving towards Palestinian headquarters, where all the Palestinian security offices are located," said Palestinian cabinet minister Saeb Erekat, a Jericho resident.
    'Connected to US attacks'
    Mr Erekat drew a connection between the incursions and the terror attacks in New York and Washington on Tuesday that destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon.

    Suspected suicide bomber Muhammad Habashi
    Israel says Jenin was a breeding ground for suicide bombers
    "The Israelis are using the tragedy of the events in New York and Washington, feeling that the attention of the world is elsewhere," he said.
    It was not immediately clear what the purpose of the latest Israeli incursion was, but the presence of the bulldozers indicated that they intended to tear down Palestinian structures.
    The main official Palestinian buildings in the town are an old military base used as police headquarters and a prison.
    Suicide bombers
    Early on Wednesday, Israeli tanks destroyed a police building in Jenin. Israel says the town has been a breeding ground for suicide bombers.
    The Israeli prime minister's office called the town "a hornet's nest" from where it said at least six suicide bombing missions had been carried out since the Palestinian uprising began last September.
    Israel says a suicide bomber who blew himself up in the Israeli coastal town of Nahariya on Sunday, killing three Israelis, had been trained by a Hamas cell based in Jenin.

    Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
    Israeli tank outside Jenin
    Palestinians reported heavy fighting in Jenin and Jericho
    Israeli troops are surrounding the West Bank towns of Jericho and Jenin following a night of fighting in both areas.
    Palestinian officials said Israeli forces had killed three Palestinians and wounded 11 in overnight clashes in Jenin.

    Israeli tanks had also rolled into the Palestinian-controlled town the previous night. At least seven Palestinians were reported killed in the earlier clashes.

    Jenin and Jericho location map
    Despite the violence, there are signs that the long anticipated meeting between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres may take place in the next few days.
    Mr Peres has said there is now a tentative agreement on where and when to hold the talks.
    The news follows a telephone call to both sides by US Secretary of State Colin Powell on Wednesday.
    But BBC Jerusalem correspondent Caroline Hawley says that even if the talks go ahead in the current poisoned atmosphere, there is absolutely no guarantee of success.
    Heavy fighting
    Palestinian officials said Israeli forces attacked a local government building in Jenin on Thursday.

    Shimon Peres
    Peres: Expected to meet Arafat soon
    Heavy fighting was also reported further south in Jericho, where Palestinian officials said some 20 Israeli tanks accompanied by bulldozers made an incursion.
    Loudspeakers on mosques called people out to defend the town against the invading Israeli forces, witnesses said.
    The Israeli army said it had no comment on the reported incursion into Jericho.
    "There is fierce resistance to the Israelis. The tanks are moving towards Palestinian headquarters, where all the Palestinian security offices are located," said Palestinian cabinet minister Saeb Erekat, a Jericho resident.
    'Connected to US attacks'
    Mr Erekat drew a connection between the incursions and the terror attacks in New York and Washington on Tuesday that destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon.

    Suspected suicide bomber Muhammad Habashi
    Israel says Jenin was a breeding ground for suicide bombers
    "The Israelis are using the tragedy of the events in New York and Washington, feeling that the attention of the world is elsewhere," he said.
    It was not immediately clear what the purpose of the latest Israeli incursion was, but the presence of the bulldozers indicated that they intended to tear down Palestinian structures.
    The main official Palestinian buildings in the town are an old military base used as police headquarters and a prison.
    Suicide bombers
    Israel says Jenin has been a breeding ground for suicide bombers.
    The Israeli prime minister's office called the town "a hornet's nest" from where it said at least six suicide bombing missions had been carried out since the Palestinian uprising began last September.
    Israel says a suicide bomber who blew himself up in the Israeli coastal town of Nahariya on Sunday, killing three Israelis, had been trained by a Hamas cell based in Jenin.

    Wednesday, 12 September, 2001, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
    Shatila refugee camp, Beirut
    Some Palestinians celebrated the American attacks

    By Kylie Morris in Gaza City
    Yasser Arafat is reported to have warned his people not to behave in a way that might give Israel an excuse to attack Palestinian areas, in the wake of the tragedies in America.
    Palestinian legislator Dr Ziad Abu Amr says Mr Arafat fears Israel will wage a public relations campaign to tarnish the image of Arabs and Muslims, particularly Palestinians.

    Yasser Arafat
    Yasser Arafat believes Israel may look for provocation
    Dr Abu Amr says there is a risk to Palestinians that Israel will take advantage of the current emergency, using harsher tactics while America is preoccupied with its internal tragedy.
    With wall-to-wall coverage of the attacks dominating regional and international media, the fact that nine Palestinians were killed overnight in the northern West Bank town of Jenin and another in the Gaza Strip, has barely registered.
    Instead, images of Palestinians handing out sweets to celebrate what happened in the United States have dominated.

    Guns fired at refugee camp in Lebanon
    Some Palestinians believe America deserved to be attacked
    But Dr Abu Amr insists those responses do not reflect the general mood of Palestinian people.
    He says many Palestinians have relatives in the United States and everyone was shocked and dismayed at the magnitude and gravity of the events in Washington and New York.
    He cautions against premature judgments that someone from the Middle East is involved, but admits that if that is the case there will be very serious repercussions.

    Saturday, 15 September, 2001, 02:30 GMT 03:30 UK

    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
    Mr Sharon compared Mr Arafat to Mr Bin Laden

    Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has ordered his Foreign Minister Shimon Peres to cancel planned ceasefire talks with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
    Mr Peres had been due to meet Mr Arafat on Sunday after weeks of preparations, but the prime minister cancelled the meeting on the grounds that it could damage Israeli interests.
    US President George Bush has telephoned Mr Sharon to stress that Washington wanted the talks to go ahead soon amid efforts to build a broad coalition - including Arab countries - to combat the terrorists who attacked the US on Tuesday.

    This conflict isn't going away, and I don't think it's going to be solved by continuing conflict between the two sides
    US Secretary of State Colin Powell
    Meanwhile Israeli troops and tanks have moved into the Palestinian-ruled town of Ramallah in the West Bank, wounding three Palestinians, Palestinian security sources said.
    The sources said Israeli forces were near the Voice of Palestine radio and TV buildings at 0445 (0145 GMT). The army refused to confirm or deny the reports
    Two Palestinians were also shot dead overnight at Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip during a clash with Israeli forces, hospital sources said.
    Three other Palestinians were reportedly injured, but it is not clear whether the dead men were gunmen, or civilians living nearby.
    Elsewhere in Gaza, seven Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli troops backed by tanks at Beit Hanoun, it was reported.
    Palestinians have voiced fears that the Israeli Government would use events in the US to justify using increased violence to quell the Palestinian uprising, or intifada.
    Meeting 'inappropriate'
    A senior Israeli official told the French news agency AFP that the reason for Mr Sharon's decision to prevent a top-level Israeli-Palestinian meeting was "Arafat's behaviour in the past and his behaviour right now".

    Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres
    Mr Peres says "the alternative" to Mr Arafat would be worse for Israel

    He said such a meeting would be "inappropriate".
    The Palestinians reacted by accusing Prime Minister Sharon of seeking war, and have accused Israel of using events in the US as an excuse to step up attacks against them.
    "We were prepared to hold the meeting on Sunday," said Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo.
    Mr Peres said talks with Mr Arafat were necessary if the US was to build up an anti-terror coalition after Tuesday's terrorist attacks.

    We believe a meeting is important to get the process started
    US Secretary-of-State Colin Powell

    He also rejected Mr Sharon's comparisons of the Palestinian leader to Saudi terror suspect Osama Bin Laden.
    Mr Peres stressed that the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, who had been pressing for the talks, "attaches great importance to the holding of the meeting."
    Mr Powell himself said after the cancellation that it was important for peace that the two sides meet:
    "We believe a meeting is important to get the process started," he said in Washington.

    Sunday, 16 September, 2001, 15:47 GMT 16:47 UK

    Aftermath of Israeli attack in Nuseirat, Gaza
    Palestinians accuse Israel of escalating the violence

    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has said there must be two days of "absolute calm" before he will allow talks to be held with the Palestinians.
    Speaking at a special session of the Israeli parliament, Mr Sharon said he would end Israeli military raids against Palestinian targets if Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat called a ceasefire.

    The one who gave legitimacy decades ago for airline hijacking was Arafat
    Ariel Sharon, Israeli Prime Minister
    An Israeli soldier, meanwhile, is reported to have been shot dead while trying to carry out arrests in the Palestinian-controlled West Bank town of Ramallah.
    The AFP news agency quotes an Israeli army spokesman as saying the soldier was killed when Palestinians fired on his unit as it tried to arrest members of Mr Arafat's Force 17 guards.
    A second soldier was wounded in the attack, AFP reported.
    The ambush is reported to have happened after Israeli tanks with helicopter support thrust into the centre of Ramallah, killing a member of the Palestinian security forces and wounding 15 others in several hours of fighting.
    Ali Khader Jaber, 26, was shot in the stomach when he went out on to the roof of his house after hearing shooting, Palestinian hospital sources said.

    Some tanks stopped only a few metres from the Palestinian Legislative Council building, witnesses said.
    Helicopters continued to swoop overhead as the tanks rolled back to their positions outside Ramallah, spraying bullets from the air, the witnesses said.
    Loudspeakers in local mosques called on residents to go into the streets to resist the Israeli incursion.
    The Israeli army said the raid was in response to a shooting attack in Jerusalem on Saturday night in which an Israeli was killed and another injured.
    Rebuff to US
    Vetoing talks scheduled for Sunday night between Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Mr Arafat, Mr Sharon said such a meeting "would legitimise Arafat and allow him to continue with terrorism without us being able to do anything against him."

    Israeli demonstration in Tel Aviv
    Israeli hawks say the Palestinian leader Arafat must renounce armed struggle
    Responding to the Israeli leader's comments, Mr Arafat repeated he was already committed to a ceasefire.
    The Palestinian leader said he would meet Mr Peres "any place, any time".
    BBC correspondent Paul Wood says all of this is a blow to US diplomatic efforts to neutralise the Palestinian issue in order to build a wide coalition including Arab states for his global war on terrorism.

    Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK

    EU Mid-East envoy Miguel Moratinos and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
    Arafat, right, played host to more than 30 international envoys

    The Israeli military is to withdraw from all areas under exclusive Palestinian military and civil control.
    The BBC correspondent in Jerusalem says this amounts to a pullback of a few hundred metres, but the move is a hugely symbolic step designed to show Israeli goodwill.
    The United States has been trying for several days to bring calm to the Middle East as part of efforts to build a worldwide coalition against terrorism including the Arab States.
    Israel's army earlier said it would suspend all "offensive operations" against the Palestinians.

    Of course, these are words - they are good words, they are promising words - but it's only deeds that can prove that a ceasefire will really take hold
    UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen
    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon gave the order just hours after Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat issued another strongly-worded order to his military commanders to secure a ceasefire on all fronts.
    Mr Arafat's statement called for armed Palestinians to exercise maximum restraint even when they come under fire.

    Israeli soldiers in Hebron
    In the West Bank and Gaza violence has continued
    US Secretary of State Colin Powell welcomed the statements and said that he hoped developments on the ground would add to the sense of hope they raised.
    The United Nations special envoy to the region, Terje Roed-Larsen, also welcomed the developments and called on the two sides to hold a meeting on security co-operation on Tuesday evening to cement the ceasefire.
    "Of course, these are words - they are good words, they are promising words - but it's only deeds that can prove that a ceasefire will really take hold," he said.

    'Talks soon?'
    Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said talks between Israel and the Palestinians could start in a "matter of days" if the ceasefire holds.
    As recently as Monday, Mr Sharon insisted that ceasefire talks with the Palestinians were not in Israel's national interest, whatever Washington's hopes for building an international coalition.

    Israeli PM Ariel Sharon
    Sharon has not pleased the US by comparing Arafat to Osama Bin Laden
    Mr Sharon blocked long planned talks between Mr Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres on Sunday.
    Correspondents say American officials were unhappy with Mr Sharon's description of Yasser Arafat as "our Osama Bin Laden".
    Show of solidarity
    Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Arafat held an unprecedented meeting in Gaza City with more than 30 international envoys, including representatives from the United States and the European Union.
    In his statement on Tuesday, Mr Arafat said he had told US officials that he was ready "to put all our capabilities at their disposal, and to be part of the international alliance to put an end to terrorism against innocent and unarmed civilians".

    UN diplomats say the Palestinians do seem genuine in wanting to enforce the ceasefire.
    According to reports, the Palestinians, acting on Israeli intelligence, arrested a suicide bomber in the West Bank town of Nablus on Tuesday.
    Violence continues
    Also on Tuesday, an area of Gaza City came under Israeli tank fire. Reports say there were no injuries but several houses were damaged.
    The Israeli army said it was responding to a Palestinian mortar attack.
    On the West Bank, in Nablus, a Palestinian was shot dead when he failed to respond to orders to halt as his tractor approached an Israeli military post.
    In Hebron, a Palestinian taxi driver's body was found at the scene of intense overnight gun battles between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli soldiers.

    Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 20:49 GMT 21:49 UK

    Palestinian protesters at a funeral
    It is unclear how calm can be achieved

    By BBC Middle East analyst Roger Hardy
    Israel has said it is halting all offensive operations against the Palestinians, following the ceasefire call from Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader.
    But can the violence of the last year in which more than 700 people have been killed now be brought to a halt?

    Israeli's read about US attacks
    The US attacks have concentrated minds
    Commentators are now wondering if those who carried out last week's attacks against the United States may, unwittingly, have achieved what months of international diplomacy have failed to bring about - real progress towards a genuine ceasefire in the Middle East.
    The shock of events in New York and Washington have certainly concentrated both Israeli and Palestinian minds.
    Difficult position
    Suddenly there is a new international priority - President Bush's war against terrorism - and both Yasser Arafat and the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, are eager to show their support for it.
    This is much harder for Mr Arafat than it is for Mr Sharon.
    For one thing, there can be no guarantee that his men will carry out his increasingly insistent demands for a full ceasefire.
    For another, he will now be expected by both the Israelis and the Americans to crack down on the Islamist groups who in the past have carried out suicide bombings and who have bitterly opposed any ceasefire.
    Past mistake
    But the Palestinian leader finds himself in a weak position.

    Yasser Arafat
    Arafat is in a weak position

    Above all, he is anxious to avoid making the mistake he made a decade ago after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait when he alienated both the Americans and the Saudis by showing sympathy for the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
    This time he wants to be on the winning side, even if that means running certain risks with Palestinian public opinion.
    In the short run, it will not be easy to achieve the 48 hours of calm which Mr Sharon is demanding.
    That in turn is supposed to lead to a further seven days of quiet.
    Only then will the two sides be able to discuss implementing the Mitchell plan - the peace proposals put forward earlier in the year by the former American senator George Mitchell.
    There will be risks at every turn.

    Saturday, 22 September, 2001, 00:51 GMT 01:51 UK

    Yasser Arafat seen with senior Palestinian officials

    By James Reynolds in Jerusalem
    It is a new world here. For Yasser Arafat it is a world full of opportunities and full of dangers.
    This world did not begin well for Mr Arafat. Shortly after the attacks on New York and Washington a small group of Palestinians was filmed celebrating in East Jerusalem.

    Yasser Arafat symbolically donates blood in the aftermath of the attacks on the US
    Mr Arafat made a show of donating blood 
    Pictures of these celebrations were broadcast round the world - giving the impression the entire Palestinian people was jubilant. These pictures did great damage to the Palestinian cause internationally.
    Yasser Arafat and his officials were put on the backfoot. They made sure pictures of further celebrations were not seen.
    They began an intense campaign to show that the Palestinian people condemned the attacks.
    A campaign which involved Mr Arafat giving blood for the victims of the attacks against America.
    At the same time Israel began a series of military incursions into Palestinian controlled areas. These incursions were condemned by the Palestinians. But the world's attention was focused elsewhere.

    A soldier atop an armoured personnel carrier outside the West Bank town of Jenin where Israeli troops mounted an incursion on 15 September
    Israeli incursions into Palestinian areas went largely unnoticed by the outside world
    Then, the next step of the new world. In front of foreign ambassadors called to Gaza, Yasser Arafat repeated his intention to observe a ceasefire. He ordered his forces to act with maximum restraint.
    His words were not new. But in this conflict, what you say is not as important as when you say it and who has told you to say it.
    On this occasion, Mr Arafat was under intense pressure from the international community to fall into line.
    With few other options available, he did so. And his international position rose. He was back in the fold.
    Now the challenge. Yasser Arafat must make sure his forces observe the ceasefire. He must act against Islamic militant groups - and persuade them not to attack Israel. Leading Palestinians warn that this will be difficult.
    "He is like a prisoner in Ramallah or Gaza," says Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian political activist.
    "He cannot move army officers from one place to another. Physically he is doing his best."
    The question now : will his best be good enough?

    If the ceasefire holds, Yasser Arafat will meet Israel's Foreign Minister Shimon Peres for talks. And there is more.

    Palestinians run for cover during clashes with Israeli troops
    Talks are predicated on the ceasefire holding
    The Palestinians want Yasser Arafat to be given an Oval Office meeting with President Bush. Such a meeting would do more than anything to restore Mr Arafat's standing in the international community.
    If the ceasefire holds, this meeting may happen. If it doesn't, it won't.
    These are defining moments for Yasser Arafat. He may remember Shakespeare's words from Julius Caesar:
    "There is a tide in the affairs of men,
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    Is bound in shallows and in miseries."

    This is Yasser Arafat's tide. If the ceasefire holds, his international position will be strengthened. If the Palestinians break the ceasefire, he can expect real questions from the international community - and from the United States in particular.

    Thursday, 27 September, 2001, 05:31 GMT 06:31 UK

    Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
    Fighting was going on as the two men talked

    By the BBC's Jerusalem correspondent Orla Guerin
    There were no smiles and probably little trust at the much trumpeted meeting between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres on Wednesday.
    The two had to be asked to shake hands at the start of their talks at Gaza International Airport, which concluded with an agreement to make efforts to strengthen a fragile ceasefire, but no joint press conference.
    Washington made them do this.
    It was the United States that has pushed for this meeting to take place, keen to bring quiet to the Middle East at a time when it is trying to build up a broad, global coalition for its fight against international terrorism.
    In the balance
    There is a great deal riding on this ceasefire, which may well mean, as before, nothing more than reduced fire, despite the pressure from Washington.
    But even that hope appeared to have been dashed even as the talks began.

    Palestinians mourn a 16-year-old victim of Middle East violence earlier this week
    Just before the talks started, three Israeli soldiers were wounded in a bomb blast. As the negotiations got underway, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy was killed.
    He was shot between the eyes. Palestinians blame Israeli troops.
    And three Palestinians died just hours after the talks following a gunbattle with Israeli forces in the town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip.
    Twenty-four people are known to have been injured. Israeli tanks are reported to still be in the area.
    But whether or not the ceasefire sticks will not be decided in airport conference rooms, but on the backstreets of the West Bank.
    Whatever George Bush may want and however far the international community may see the truce as a new beginning and a reason for hope, many Palestinians do not welcome the accord.
    They have little confidence that these meetings will bring about the kind of changes they seek, and the word on the street is that fighting will resume.
    The truce may be set an instant challenge. Palestinians are planning demonstrations on Friday in the West bank and the Gaza Strip to mark the anniversary of the intifada.
    Some time was bought on Wednesday, no more and no less.
    But it may be just the breathing space that Washington needs.

    Thursday, 27 September, 2001, 22:26 GMT 23:26 UK

    Palestinians bury one of those who died in overnight fighting
    There was already scepticism about the truce talks

    Five Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops within a day of an agreement by both sides to seek a permanent ceasefire.
    Three people were killed and dozens wounded in a gun battle overnight near the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.
    Later on Thursday a 15-year-old boy was shot dead by Israeli soldiers, who then killed a Palestinian man wandering near a Jewish settlement. Palestinian officials said the man, who was mentally disturbed, was riddled with bullets.
    The latest deaths have increased pessimism about an accord which many already believe has little chance of success.
    The Palestinians accused Israel, which on Thursday marked the holiest day in the Jewish calendar - Yom Kippur, of attacking Rafah in the hope of destroying any chances for peace.
    "These aggressive attacks prove to the world that the enemies of peace in Israel are determined to continue their aggressive war against the Palestinian people," said Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo.
    US involvement
    Under intense US pressure, Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat met on Wednesday for the truce talks, which ended in an agreement to consolidate the shaky ceasefire, but no joint press conference.
    Washington believes that peace in the Middle East will bolster its efforts to build an anti-terrorism global coalition, hoping to get Arab states on board.

    Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
    The two had to be asked to shake hands
    If a lasting peace is established on the ground, both sides can then set about resurrecting the stalled peace process - including tackling the issues of Palestinian statehood and the final status of Jerusalem.
    The Palestinians have insisted on a broader agenda, to include a timetable for lifting Israeli roadblocks and travel restrictions, which have crippled the Palestinian economy.
    Correspondents say that security cooperation meetings with Palestinians and Israelis are due to start on Friday.
    US officials are also expected to attend, after US Secretary of State Colin Powell said that Washington was looking to step up its role in the region following the meeting.
    But the fragile truce may again be put to the test on Friday, the first anniversary of the Palestinian uprising - or intifada - for which several groups are planning demonstrations.

    Thursday, 27 September, 2001, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK

    Yasser Arafat shakes hands with Shimon Peres
    The Israelis may have to make a compromise peace

    By Paul Wood in Jerusalem
    Initially, America's war on terror aroused hopes among hawks in the Israeli cabinet that Ariel Sharon would get unlimited freedom of action to pursue the conflict with the Palestinians.

    There are now fears that the price of the current war will be for the Americans to shut their eyes to the serious dangers confronting Israel and the region from Teheran to Baghdad
    Maariv columnist Rafi Mann
    "Terror is terror, murder is murder," Mr Sharon said, accusing Yasser Arafat of leading his own coalition of terrorism.
    But now the Israelis fear the US war on terror means they will have to make a compromise peace with the Palestinians against their vital interests, and perhaps give their blessing to a wider coalition including old enemies such as Syria and Iraq.
    The Israeli columnist Rafi Mann wrote in the newspaper Maariv: "There are now fears that the price of the current war will be for the Americans to shut their eyes to the serious dangers confronting Israel and the region from Teheran to Baghdad."

    Sixteen-year-old Mahmud Qeshta's funeral in Rafah
    A Palestinian boy was shot dead almost within sight of the negotiators

    One consequence of America's war on terror is that a long-awaited, much-delayed meeting between Israeli Foreign Minister Simon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has taken place in Gaza.
    The huge loss of life in New York and Washington has forced progress towards peace in the Middle East that no-one had thought possible.
    There was, it is true, only a cold, reluctant handshake between Mr Peres and Mr Arafat when they sat down together - and no one had any illusions that the meeting would have happened without massive American pressure.
    Phones white hot
    President Bush is engaged in the Middle East as never before.
    Phone lines between the White House and the Israeli Government have been white hot in recent days, and the exchanges frank, even brutal.

    Despite the ceasefire declared by Arafat, the Israeli crime against our people is continuing. That's why the Palestinians have a right to defend themselves
    Islamic Jihad spokesman Abdullah Shami

    At one stage, Mr Peres said the American Secretary of State, Colin Powell, was calling him three times a day.
    The Americans need to bring calm to the Middle East to help bring Arab states into their coalition against terror.
    But Israeli officials have cautioned against over-optimism.
    Although the two sides have renewed their security contacts, suspended since July, any further serious violence will halt progress to the next stage of the process, which involves a lifting of the Israeli blockade on Palestinian areas and, eventually, substantive political negotiations.

    Colin Powell
    Colin Powell has been in regular contact with the Israelis

    "We've said very clearly that while the talks will continue, Israel reserves the right to respond when we want and with full severity to any attack," the prime minister's spokesman, Raanan Gissin, said.
    While the peace talks in Gaza were getting under way, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy was shot dead almost within sight of the negotiators.
    And an Israeli army post was also attacked and three soldiers were injured.
    No end to violence
    In a year of this conflict, the two sides have been incapable of halting the violence.
    Few believe this ceasefire will be any different from those which have gone before.
    Islamic militants groups have already said they will not abide by the truce.
    The Islamic Jihad spokesman in Gaza, Abdullah Shami, said: "Despite the ceasefire declared by Arafat, the Israeli crime against our people is continuing.
    "That's why the Palestinians have a right to defend themselves. This attack on the Israeli army post comes as a self-defence act and therefore we support it."
    US-Israel co-operation
    Israel is being asked to do two things by the United States.
    The first is to contribute valuable intelligence and expertise, which it is doing.
    Israeli is telling the United States how to fight exactly the kind of "anti-terrorism" war it has been waging, relying on intelligence, infiltration and assassination - an unconventional conflict with an unseen enemy.
    But the Israelis are also being asked to accommodate themselves to the new diplomatic realities. This they are finding more difficult.
    And whatever the needs of the United States in its coalition building, the fundamental issues dividing Israel and the Palestinians remain unchanged.
    The bad news for the United States is that the Middle East conflict remains as intractable as ever.

    Saturday, 29 September, 2001, 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK

    Relatives of a dead Palestinian teenager
    Grief for a Palestinian teenager killed on Friday

    Three Palestinians have been shot dead and more than 150 injured by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip and West Bank on a second day of protests to mark the anniversary of the intifada, or uprising.
    Each side has traded blame for escalating the situation and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has convened a meeting of his inner cabinet on Saturday night to review security measures.

    The first year of the uprising has shaken the Israeli occupation. The second year will be decisive in ending [it]
    Fatah official Marwan Barghouti
    Ceasefire terms were worked out earlier this week in talks between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres - and both sides have said they will press on with truce provisions despite scepticism that they will last.
    The United States regards the ceasefire as a vital part of its campaign to gather Arab and Muslim support for its global campaign against terrorism.
    On Friday - the first anniversary of the outbreak of the uprising against Israel occupation in the Palestinian territories - six Palestinians were killed in violence in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and a seventh has subsequently died of his wounds.
    Killed by snipers
    Reports identify the first Palestinian killed on Saturday as 18-year-old Khalil Fayad, who was among a group of Palestinians throwing stones at Israeli soldiers near the Kfar Darom Jewish settlement in southern Gaza.
    He was shot in the head, while medical officials reported 30 other casualties, all injured by live bullets and ranging in age from 12 to 22.

    Year of conflict
    28 Sept 2000: Violence breaks out after Ariel Sharon visits holy site
    16-17 Oct: Summit at Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt, fails to halt violence
    21 May 2001: Mitchell Commission report calls for immediate end to violence
    26 Sept: Yasser Arafat meets Shimon Peres to discuss ceasefire
    Israeli rooftop snipers shot dead a 50-year-old Palestinian man and wounded four others in the Palestinian section of the divided West Bank city of Hebron, Palestinian security sources and witnesses said.
    Ribhi Al-Bayed was shot in the chest as he walked through Hebron's central market, the sources said.
    The Israeli army said the incident followed an attack by Palestinians on Israeli positions in the Jewish section of the city in which two soldiers received minor injuries.
    A second, unidentified, teenager was shot dead later in Gaza, one of more 25 youths struck by Israeli bullets during stone-throwing protests at the Karni border crossing with Israel.
    Earlier tens of thousands of Palestinians joined a second day of protests in most major Palestinian towns, the largest gatherings taking place in Nablus, with 20,000 people, and Gaza, where 10,000 people crowded the streets.
    'Solidifying' the truce
    The Israeli Defence Ministry has said Israel promises to open the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on Sunday.
    Israeli officials, who met a Palestinian delegation at US-sponsored talks in Tel Aviv on Friday, also promised to restore free traffic movement in major Palestinian towns if the situation on the ground calmed down.
    The Palestinians for their part agreed to "solidify the ceasefire". The two sides agreed to meet again next week.

    Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
    Peres and Arafat paved the way for security meetings
    But Israeli officials have expressed anger that the Palestinian Authority has not tried to arrest Palestinian activists branded by Israel as terrorists, as agreed on Wednesday.
    The Palestinian leadership met on Friday night and called for the international community to halt Israel's "aggressive military escalation" against the Palestinian people.
    Leaders of Mr Arafat's Fatah movement appeared divided over the ceasefire - with Nablus official Issam Abu Bakr saying the group would lay down arms and Marwan Barghouti in Ramallah taking a much harder line.
    "The first year of the uprising has shaken the Israeli occupation. The second year will be decisive in ending the Israeli occupation," Mr Barghouti said.
    The uprising broke out on 28 September 2001 when Palestinians, frustrated with the direction of the peace process, rioted after the then Israeli opposition leader, now Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon visited the compound.
    Al-Aqsa mosque is the third holiest site in Islam, while to the Jewish people, who call it the area the Temple Mount, it is the holiest. The remains of the first and second Jewish temples are believed to lie beneath the site.
    More than 600 Palestinians and 160 Israelis have died in the subsequent 12 months of violence.

    Saturday, 29 September, 2001, 20:19 GMT 21:19 UK

    Two days of demonstrations by Palestinians to mark the first anniversary of their intifada, or uprising, have led to violent clashes with Israeli forces.

    Children from Palestinian kindergarten in Nablus

    Children from a kindergarten were brought out to cheer a march by the Palestinian militant group Hamas

    Demonstrators with effigy of Ariel Sharon in Nablus

    One Palestinian woman posed with a gun pointed at an effigy of the Israeli prime minister

    Israeli army patrol retreats in Hebron

    Israeli troops came under Palestinian gunfire at various points...

    Confrontation in Ramallah

    ...but when violence erupted they mainly faced stone-throwers

    Palestinians flee riot near Netzarim, Gaza Strip

    This Palestinian mother hurried her son away when she caught him throwing stones

    Funeral of a 26-year-old Palestinian, Imam Mohammed Rashad al-Sharif, killed in a crossfire in Hebron

    Despite the truce, the conflict claimed further lives - mainly those of Palestinians shot by Israeli troops

    Sunday, 30 September, 2001, 08:37 GMT 09:37 UK

    Israeli soldiers have their weapons ready as they pull back to a safe position when shots are fired from the Palestinian side of the West Bank city of Hebron
    Violent clashes mark the anniversary of the intifada

    The Israeli security cabinet has issued an ultimatum to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, giving him 48 hours to restore a crumbling ceasefire.
    The ceasefire was agreed during talks last week between Mr Arafat and the Israeli foreign minister, Shimon Peres.
    But at least 12 Palestinians have been killed since Friday by Israeli troops, most in clashes marking the first anniversary of their uprising, or intifada.
    The United States sees the ceasefire as a key element in securing Arab and Muslim support for the global coalition against terrorism.
    Arrests demanded
    The Israeli army will be free to "renew its strategy of attacks" in two days time if violence on the Palestinian side does not end, Israel radio reported on Sunday.

    Fatah activists pray over the tomb of  a Palestinian killed by Israeli forces
    Fatah activists grieve for a Palestinian shot dead by Israeli forces
    The decision came after the Israeli security cabinet met into the early hours of Sunday.
    It is also demanding that Mr Arafat arrests a number of Palestinian militants on a list given to him by Mr Peres.
    But the Palestinians deny receiving any such list, Reuters news agency reports, and, in their turn, accuse the Israelis of not fulfilling the terms of the ceasefire.
    "The Israeli Government should have started [on Friday] to implement what we had agreed upon with Mr Shimon Peres... to remove their forces from our land to their original positions and to ease the siege," said Nabil Abu Rdainah, an aide to Mr Arafat.
    The security cabinet did say it would go ahead and reopen some roads in the Palestinian territories and lift the closure of Jericho in the West Bank.
    Accounts disputed
    The Israeli ultimatum to Mr Arafat to restore calm came as its troops shot dead two Palestinians and wounded several others in the West Bank on Sunday.

    Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
    Peres and Arafat paved the way for security meetings
    A Palestinian taxi driver told journalists he was in a convoy taking a group of workers to the town of Tulkarm when they were forced to stop by rocks blocking the road.
    The driver said that when the workers started moving the rocks, Israeli soldiers hiding in a nearby olive grove opened fire, the Associated Press news agency reports.
    Israeli army radio said the convoy had failed to stop at a roadblock.

    Anniversary casualties
    Three Palestinians were shot dead and more than 150 injured by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip and West Bank on Saturday, as the sides traded blame for the escalation of the situation.
    On Friday - the first anniversary of the outbreak of the uprising - six Palestinians were killed in violent clashes and a seventh has subsequently died of his wounds.

    Year of conflict
    28 Sept 2000: Violence breaks out after Ariel Sharon visits holy site
    16-17 Oct: Summit at Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt, fails to halt violence
    21 May 2001: Mitchell Commission report calls for immediate end to violence
    26 Sept: Yasser Arafat meets Shimon Peres to discuss ceasefire
    The Israeli army says its soldiers have come under repeated attack in recent days as the government accuses Mr Arafat of not fulfilling the terms of the ceasefire.
    On Saturday, tens of thousands of Palestinians joined a second day of protests in most major Palestinian towns, the largest gatherings taking place in Nablus, with 20,000 people, and Gaza, where 10,000 people crowded the streets.
    The uprising broke out on 28 September 2001 when Palestinians, frustrated with the direction of the peace process, rioted after the then Israeli opposition leader, now Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon visited the site revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif or Noble Sanctuary.
    Al-Aqsa mosque is the third holiest site in Islam, while to the Jewish people, who call it the area the Temple Mount, it is the holiest. The remains of the first and second Jewish temples are believed to lie beneath the site.
    More than 600 Palestinians and 160 Israelis have died in the subsequent 12 months of violence.

    Monday, 1 October, 2001, 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK

    An Israeli tank repositioning itself on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Jericho
    Israel has eased restrictions since the truce last week

    The Israeli Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, has denied saying he believed a senior commander in the Israeli army wished to kill Yasser Arafat.
    In a statement, Mr Peres says the army follows political orders and that there is no plan nor any desire for the Palestinian leader to be killed.

    Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
    Mr Peres and Mr Arafat paved the way for security meetings
    The denial follows a wide-ranging interview in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper which was interpreted as suggesting Mr Peres believed there was such a plan.
    During the interview, Mr Peres talked of disagreements with the deputy army chief of staff, Major General Moshe Yahalon.
    The author of the article then writes: "Peres is convinced that Yahalon is determined to get rid of Arafat."
    But there is no direct quote from Mr Peres on this.
    And Shimon Peres warns against any plan to kill Mr Arafat, saying that if he is killed, he may be replaced by Islamic militant groups committed to Israel's destruction, such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.

    Tuesday, 2 October, 2001, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK

    US Secretary of State Colin Powell (left) and US President George W Bush
    Mr Powell (left) was to have launched the initiative at the UN

    Roger Hardy
    President George W Bush has said the creation of a Palestinian state had always been part of the United States' vision for the Middle East.
    But he said it was vital to first reduce the violence in the region.
    "The idea of a Palestinian state has always been a part of a vision, so long as the right of Israel to exist is respected," Mr Bush told reporters after a meeting with congressional leaders.

    Progress in the Middle East can be measured in centimetres
    President George W Bush
    His comments followed reports from Washington that, prior to the terror attacks on 11 September, the Bush administration had been planning a new Middle East initiative - including support for the creation of a Palestinian state.
    According to the New York Times and the Washington Post, the initiative was to have been launched with a speech to the United Nations General Assembly by the US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
    The plan was that Mr Powell would set out - for the first time - the administration's proposals for a comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian problem.
    He would support the creation of a Palestinian state - something no Republican administration has ever done.
    'Rewarding terrorism'
    And at about the same time President Bush would hold his first meeting with the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
    But the initiative was delayed by the attacks of the 11 September - and now senior officials are left wondering how to revive it.
    To go ahead with the initiative would upset the Sharon government in Israel and Israel's friends in Washington.
    They would claim that to signal a shift in US policy would be to reward terrorism in general and Yasser Arafat in particular - since Israeli officials argue Mr Arafat is the cause of the violence in the Middle East over the last year.
    But even more pressing for the administration is the need to show its Arab and Muslim allies that it is ready to be genuinely even-handed in its approach to one of the world's most intractable problems.
    President Bush needs their support as he prepares for military action against Afghanistan, partly for logistical reasons and partly to show that he is waging war against terrorism, not against Islam.

    Wednesday, 3 October, 2001, 18:07 GMT 19:07 UK

    Palestinian policemen carry the coffin of one of four officers killed in Israeli reprisals Oct 3
    Hero's funeral for a Palestinian policeman

    By Kylie Morris in Gaza
    Parents in Gaza were in a quandary on Wednesday - whether or not to send their children to school.

    An overnight attack on a Jewish settlement in the north of the Gaza Strip had brought fierce reprisals from Israel.
    Classrooms were half empty in many schools, as families kept their loved ones close, in case of more trouble.
    The trouble was concentrated in Gaza's northern reaches.

    A Palestinian man sits beside the body of his son during the funerals of four policemen
    Father's lament: A man sits beside his son's body
    Hamas fighters had crept into the Jewish settlement of Alei Sinai, and killed two Israelis.
    One was a 19-year-old woman, the other her 20-year-old boyfriend.
    As many as eight other people were wounded.
    Israeli special forces moved in to defend the settlers, and killed the Palestinian gunmen.
    The two Hamas fighters have now been given heroes' funerals in Gaza City.
    People in Gaza have watched their final messages broadcast on local television.
    In the usual style of the militant Islamic group, the scratchy video shows each of the young men swathed in guerrilla fatigues, clutching a semi-automatic rifle.
    They each explain their actions as a commemoration of the latest Palestinian intifada or uprising, now 12 months old.
    Destructive reprisals
    But their acts had destructive implications for their fellow Palestinians.
    Reprisal attacks by Israel, using tanks and naval gunboats, swiftly destroyed seven security posts near the northern town of Beit Lahia.
    In the process, six Palestinians died, four of them policemen, killed as they guarded their post.
    Tanks have pushed as much as a kilometre inside Palestinian territory, in the north, and bulldozers have been busy tearing up farms in the area.
    Scepticism about truce
    While the Palestinian Authority, under Yasser Arafat's leadership, has condemned the attack on the Jewish settlement, the view from the street is not as clear-cut.
    Many Palestinians pay scant regard to the deaths of settlers, believing any attack against them is justified on the grounds that they illegally occupy Palestinian territory.
    Palestinians are also sceptical of efforts to breathe new life into a ceasefire between themselves and Israel, a truce so far observed mainly in the breach.

    We're tired of negotiation for negotiation's sake
    Hamas leader in Gaza
    A meeting between Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Mr Arafat fell flat last week.
    In the days following their talks, more than 20 Palestinians were killed.
    About 200 people, mainly teenagers, were injured in Gaza last weekend alone as Palestinians marked the first anniversary of the intifada.
    'Armed struggle continues'
    The Palestinian Authority's attempts to develop the truce, by holding security coordination meetings with their Israeli counterparts, were as unpopular as the measures that followed.
    An attempted arrest in the southern border town of Rafah sparked anger among local people, who attacked three Palestinian security posts.
    A Hamas leader in Gaza, Mahmoud Zahar, explained the popular feeling by saying people were tired of negotiation for its own sake.
    He said the armed struggle would continue in pursuit of political progress.
    Palestinians, he said, had no trust in any promises made either by the Palestinian Authority or Israel.

    Thursday, 4 October, 2001, 22:11 GMT 23:11 UK
    Gunman lies dead after the attack
    Police say they found a suicide note on the gunman

    A suspected Palestinian gunman disguised as an Israeli soldier has opened fire at a crowded bus station in the northern Israeli town of Afula, killing three people, Israeli officials said.
    Another 14 people were wounded, two of them seriously, before Israeli police shot dead the attacker, news reports said.

    The attack took place minutes after ceasefire talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke up without agreement.
    Meanwhile, in the divided West Bank town of Hebron, a Palestinian was killed and several children injured in a shoot-out with Israeli soldiers, according to Palestinian witnesses.
    A BBC correspondent in Jerusalem says it is clear the ceasefire now exists only in name.
    Nahum Zamir, a bus driver at the scene of the attack in Afula, told Israel Radio the gunman was dressed as a soldier.
    "He just started shooting in all directions," the bus driver said.
    A 76-year-old man died instantly and two women died in hospital, the Associated Press news agency reported.
    'Suicide note'
    Police said they believed the gunman was a Palestinian militant.

    He just started shooting in all directions
    Bus driver Nahum Zamir

    Israeli minister Tzipi Livni said the attack at Afula "is an additional result of (Palestinian leader) Yasser Arafat's refusal to honour his commitments".
    Israeli radio stations reported that police found what they believed to be a suicide note written in Arabic on the gunman's body.
    Bus driver Michael Harel said he saw the assailant opening fire.
    "I heard a series of shots at a murderous pace. There was a panic and everybody started to run," Mr Harel told Israel radio.
    Palestinian militants have carried out several bombings in Afula in recent years.
    The city lies just across the border from the West Bank town of Jenin, from where Palestinians have launched suicide attacks against Israeli targets in the past few months.
    Settlers extricated
    In a separate incident in the West Bank on Thursday, two Israeli settlers barricaded themselves in a house in the village of Jaljilya, north of Ramallah, in the area controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
    Israel radio reported that the two, residents of the West Bank settlement of Tapuach, entered the village "by mistake or by design" and found themselves surrounded by angry Palestinians.
    They ran into a house and held two of its inhabitants at gunpoint, while armed Palestinians surrounded the house, a settler radio station reported.
    The army sent in tanks and armoured personnel carriers to rescue the two and return them to their settlement.
    The Palestinians say the two were security personnel known to the villagers.
    A Palestinian official quoted by the Israeli Ynet news website said Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat ordered Palestinian security officials to ensure the two settlers' safe release.

    Thursday, 4 October, 2001, 21:53 GMT 22:53 UK

    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
    Sharon: From now on, we will count only on ourselves
    By Barbara Plett in JerusalemIsrael's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has warned that he will not accept attempts to appease Arab states at Israel's expense.
    This was Mr Sharon's toughest criticism yet of the United States, Israel's closest ally.
    Washington has pressured Israel to agree to a ceasefire with the Palestinians in order to cool the conflict enough to bring Arabs on board its coalition against terror.
    But the truce has been a failure on the ground.
    Since it was signed, at least 21 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire and five Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks.
    Israel has been showing increasing impatience with the violence.
    Not Czechoslovakia
    On Thursday Mr Sharon said that Israel would fight what he called terrorism without let-up, cancelling its earlier promise to suspend military strikes.
    He compared the situation to events leading up to World War II, when European countries gave approval to Nazi Germany's invasion of Czechoslovakia.
    "We will not be Czechoslovakia," he said.
    "This is unacceptable to us. From now on, we will count only on ourselves".
    Palestinian leaders have accused Mr Sharon of failing to keep his side of the deal by lifting the army's stranglehold on Palestinian cities.
    Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has said that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat faces a tough task holding back extremists opposed to the ceasefire.

    Saturday, 6 October, 2001, 01:24 GMT 02:24 UK

    Ariel Sharon
    Sharon warned against sacrificing Israel

    James Reynolds
    The United States and many countries in the Middle East are now reflecting on the significance of a speech made on Thursday night by Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
    In his speech, following the death of three Israelis in an attack in northern Israel, Mr Sharon compared Israel's situation to that of pre-World War II Czechoslovakia.

    Do not repeat the dreadful mistake of 1938 when Europe sacrificed Czechoslovakia
    Ariel Sharon
    It was, in the words of some analysts here, an astonishing speech - a speech which has pleased right-wingers but which has surprised, even horrified, others.
    In the key passage Mr Sharon said: "I call on the Western democracies, and primarily the leader of the Free World, the United States, do not repeat the dreadful mistake of 1938 when Europe sacrificed Czechoslovakia. Do not try to appease the Arabs at our expense."
    "Israel will not be Czechoslovakia. Israel will fight terrorism," he added.
    Clear message
    Mr Sharon's message could hardly be more clear - Israel will not sit quietly on the sidelines during the international war on terror. It will respond when it is attacked.
    This is a direct challenge to US policy in this region.

    George Bush
    Bush is trying to maintain a shaky ceasefire

    Since the attacks on the United States, the Bush administration has worked hard to contain the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    It has tried to make a shaky ceasefire work and it has made conciliatory approaches to many Arab states, knowing that America needs their active support in its campaign against Osama Bin Laden.
    Rejecting his role
    These approaches include Mr Bush's remarks earlier this week in which he talked of a vision of a Palestinian state.
    In the American script of events, Ariel Sharon must keep quiet, act with restraint - even if Israel is attacked - and not jeopardise the coalition.
    But Mr Sharon does not like the role he is being asked to play, which is why he spoke as he did last night.
    And we now wait to see what effect Mr Sharon's words and actions will have on US coalition-building efforts.

    Sunday, 7 October, 2001, 22:43 GMT 23:43 UK

    Blast site in Saudi Arabia on Saturday
    A blast in Saudi Arabia killed one American on Saturday

    Frank Gardner
    British and US citizens in the Middle East are being advised to keep a low profile amid fears of retaliation following western attacks on targets in Afghanistan on Sunday.
    In Oman, where 23,000 British troops are currently on exercise, extra security precautions are being taken for the British community.
    Security has been tightened at the British embassy and a 24-hour consular advice line set up for the estimated 6,500 British expatriates living in this Gulf Arab state.
    The embassy has also advised two British schools here to remain closed for the next day or two while it assesses any possible risks to British citizens.
    Submarine strikes
    Such precautions could prove unnecessary here in Oman.

    HMS Illustrious
    A major military exercise is under way in Oman
    This is a peaceful, hospitable country ruled by a pro-Western monarch.
    But many young Omanis oppose Western military action against Afghanistan, a fellow Muslim state.
    They will now be digesting the news that three British submarines were involved in the strikes against Taleban positions, operating not far from Oman in international waters.
    Elsewhere in the Gulf, Westerners were already on a high state of alert even before the attacks took place in Afghanistan.
    Although violence is rare in this part of the Middle East, nerves have been jangled by a bomb attack on Saturday in Saudi Arabia.
    One American was killed along with another man and four people were injured, including a Briton.

    Monday, 8 October, 2001, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK

    Pro-Taleban protesters in Pakistan
    Muslim countries are under pressure to denounce the attacks

    While western leaders have voiced support for the US-led strikes against Afghanistan, some Muslim countries have come under pressure from their own populations for not opposing the attacks.Many Muslim countries have found themselves in an awkward position, caught between supporting the anti-terror coalition and public hostility towards the air raids.
    One Pakistani protester was killed when an anti-war demonstration turned violent, and three Palestinians were killed in clashes with Palestinian police in Gaza.

    I urge restraint and no widening of the confrontation
    Amr Moussa, Arab League Secretary-General
    Pakistan, which has joined the US-led coalition against terrorism despite its former close ties with the Taleban, said it had done all that was possible to persuade the Afghan regime to hand over Saudi-born militant Osama Bin Laden.
    "It remains our hope that the US and allied action remains clearly targeted," an official statement said.
    Several Muslim leaders in Pakistan, where a large swathe of public opinion favours the Taleban, denounced the strikes and urged support for Afghanistan.

    Pro-Taleban demonstrators
    Pro-Taleban demonstrators took to the streets of Karachi
    "We appeal to all Muslims living anywhere in the world to extend full support to their Afghan brothers at this critical time," said the Markazi Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith Pakistan group.
    The Taleban's consul-general in the Pakistani city of Karachi said the Taleban were "ready for jihad" - holy war.
    The Arab Leagueurged restraint and warned against expanding military operations to include any Arab country.
    Western support
    The European Union voiced its complete support for the raids, saying the Taleban and Bin Laden were "facing the consequences of their action".

    The EU declares its full solidarity with the United States
    EU statement
    It said: "The Afghan people deserve a government which is truly representative... Such a government will find a ready partner in the EU".
    Nato Secretary-General Lord Robertson pledged "the full-hearted support of the whole Nato alliance for America in its hour of need", adding, "The alliance stands ready to play its role".
    Turkey, Nato's only Muslim member, reaffirmed its support for the US campaign but said it hoped the action against Afghanistan would be short.
    "We hope the United States acts wisely and that innocent people are spared," Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer told US Vice-President Dick Cheney.

    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
    Egypt: "The US has the right to retaliate"

    Pope John Paul IIvoiced his "anxiety and concern" at the air strikes, calling the present time a "delicate moment in international life".
    Russia, which is fighting what it calls "terrorists" in the separatist republic of Chechnya, welcomed the attacks and seized the opportunity to urge action against terrorists everywhere.
    "It is time for decisive action with this evil. Terrorists wherever they are - in Afghanistan, Chechnya, the Middle East or the Balkans - should know that they will be taken to justice," a foreign ministry statement read.
    China said it supported action against terrorism provided it was limited to "specific objectives" and avoided civilian casualties.
    Public backlash
    Egypt, which has supported the US anti-terror campaign, said it recognised America's right to hit Afghanistan "if it has conclusive evidence" of the Taleban's and Bin Laden's guilt, but said it was concerned for the sufferings of the Afghan people.
    Jordan said it supported what it called "international efforts to combat terrorism" but also stressed the need to spare innocent civilians in Afghanistan.
    A government spokesman added that: "The fight against terrorism must not be confined to the military aspect but extend to ... a just settlement of the Palestinian question on the basis of international law".
    Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, the largest Islamist opposition group, condemned the attacks, saying: "It is clear that this war targets the Islamic and Muslim renaissance."

    It is a brave decision by the president
    Shimon Peres, Israeli foreign minister

    Meanwhile, Israel, whose Prime Minister Ariel Sharon received a rare rebuke from the White House last week after declaring the US was "appeasing" Arab nations, rapidly weighed in with admiration for US President George W Bush.
    The Palestinian Authority said it had not held a formal discussion on the strikes and would formulate a response at a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers. Palestinian leaders found themselves isolated after supporting Iraq during the Gulf War in 1991.
    Anxious to avoid repeat scenes of Palestinians celebrating after the attacks on New York and Washington, Palestinian police broke up an anti-American demonstration at Gaza City's Islamic university on Monday.
    Three Palestinians were shot dead in a gun battle between police and students in the worst internal fighting for years.
    The hardline Palestinian movement Hamascalled the American strikes a "consecration of an international policy of terrorism".

    Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
    The Iraqi leader said the strikes would destabilise the world
    Saudi Arabia, which resisted pressure to allow US planes to launch attacks from air bases on its territory, made no official comment on the raids.
    The government ofIndonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, said it hoped the action would be "limited in nature".
    Hundreds of members of the hardline Front for the Defenders of Islam protested against the US-led strikes outside the American embassy in Jakarta and threatened to destroy the building if the government did not sever ties with the US within three days.
    America's long-term foes, Iraq and Iran, denounced the raids. Sudan, itself a target of US cruise missile strikes three years ago, was also vociferous in its condemnation of the attacks.
    Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, whose country is under US-led UN sanctions, condemned the "aggression" against Afghanistan.
    "The true believers cannot but condemn this act, not because it has been committed by America against a Muslim people, but because it is an aggression perpetrated outside international law," said an official statement read out on state television.

    It is not acceptable
    Iranian foreign ministry

    Iran said the attacks against its neighbour were unacceptable.
    "I express my concern about this vast operation in Afghanistan and this attack which would result in the loss of life among civilians," said foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi, quoted by the state IRNA news agency.
    In several European capitals, including Rome, Madrid, London and Amsterdam, hundreds of anti-war demonstrators took to the streets to protest the strikes.
    In the Italian capital, several hundred people gathered outside the UN building in the city centre bearing banners, while similar sit-down protests took place in the northern cities of Turin and Milan.
    In London, more than 100 people gathered outside Downing Street, chanting "stop the war, feed the poor" in protest at the strikes, in which Britain is assisting the US.

    Monday, 8 October, 2001, 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK

    The Qatari capital, Doha
    Critics say the TV is too loyal to its parent state, Qatar

    By BBC Monitoring's Suzanne Lidster and Mike Rose
    Al-Jazeera (The Peninsula), the popular Arab satellite TV channel, has played a key role in the conflict between the US-led coalition and Afghanistan's ruling Taleban.
    It is the only foreign broadcaster permitted in Afghanistan.
    On Sunday, the station aired an exclusive filmed statement by Osama Bin Laden in response to air strikes on Afghanistan.
    The interview was pre-recorded.
    And on Friday, it also showed "recent footage" of Bin Laden in Afghanistan.

    Al-Jazeera presenter
    The station has also won a following for its coverage of the Palestinian uprising
    Since 19 September, when the Taleban evacuated the last foreign journalist from the capital Kabul, only two al-Jazeera correspondents and three Afghan reporters working for the Reuters, AFP and AP news agencies have been allowed to stay.
    The station has a reputation for outspoken, independent reporting - in stark contrast to the Taleban's views of the media as a propaganda and religious tool. Yet it clearly has its uses.
    For in a country where watching TV or surfing the internet is banned, the Taleban has used al-Jazeera as one way of communicating with the world.
    Taleban Foreign Ministry officials have spoken via satellite link to the al-Jazeera headquarters in the Gulf state of Qatar.
    The station has scored numerous exclusives. It broadcast the only video pictures of Afghan demonstrators attacking and setting fire to the US embassy on 26 September.
    And it grabbed international headlines again a few days later with a report that three US special forces troops and two Afghan US citizens had been captured by Bin Laden's al-Qaeda group near the border with Iran.
    Despite a Taleban denial, al-Jazeera stood by its report, saying that a member of al-Qaeda had called its bureau in Pakistan to announce the capture.
    Al-Jazeera prides itself on reporting on the Middle East from an Arab perspective while drawing on the professional experience of staff who have worked in the Western media.
    It has consistently topped viewer ratings in the Middle East and claims 35m viewers.
    Since its launch in 1996, the channel has relied on funding from the Qatari emirate, advertising and viewer revenue and deals with other broadcasters. It recently signed a deal to broadcast on Sky Digital to the UK and Europe.
    The channel's popularity stems from its news coverage and lively talk shows on sensitive political, social and even sexual issues.

    The banner of al-Jazeera
    The channel says its guiding principles are "diversity of viewpoints and real-time news coverage" 

    Al-Jazeera's journalistic scoops have turned the spotlight on the channel. There has been talk of privatisation, but if such a move proceeds, the station could face pressure from commercial sponsors in the Gulf, from where there has often been criticism of its output.
    However, although state subsidies are expected to end next month, analysts predict that Qatar will continue bankrolling the channel as its controversial reporting could scare off advertisers or shareholders.
    Despite its independent stance, al-Jazeera has been labelled by some UK newspapers as a "mouthpiece" of Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and US officials have expressed concern at what it sees as the anti-Western tone of much of its reporting.
    BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

    Tuesday, 9 October, 2001, 04:33 GMT 05:33 UK
    Allies want 'justice, not revenge'

    Blair gives his interview to Sami Haddad, of Al Jazeera television channel
    Blair says the strikes are against terror, not Islam

    UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has told an Arabic television station that the US and it allies want "justice, not revenge".
    Speaking ahead of Tuesday's first meeting of the British war cabinet, he used the interview with Qatari satellite television station Al-Jazeera to counter claims by Osama Bin Laden that the US-led action was aimed at the Islamic world.

    I cannot understand how a person who studies Islam and the Koran can justify the killing of 7,000 innocent persons
    Tony Blair
    His interview came as Britain gave logistical support to the US in the second wave of military strikes against Afghanistan on Monday night.
    Elsewhere Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon told the BBC that Britain had not been directly involved in the second round of military action as an assessment was still being made as to how successful the first missile strikes had been.
    Anti-terrorist war
    Mr Blair, who recorded the interview as he set up the war cabinet and recalled Parliament, told the Arab world that this was not a war against Muslims, but against terrorists.
    Al Jazeera television channel has previously aired a video statement by Osama Bin Laden in which he appeared to threaten the United States.

    Osama Bin Laden
    Osama Bin Laden claimed US action was against the Islamic world
    Asked why Bin Laden was not being treated as innocent until proven guilty, Mr Blair said: "Had the Taleban abandoned Bin Laden and handed him over, together with his terrorist network, he would have stood trial.
    "This has not happened, and the Taleban refuses to hand over him.
    "We are certain the al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden are responsible for what happened (the attacks on the US on 11 September).
    No alternative
    "Bin Laden praised on your television the perpetrators of the attacks, saying that these acts are right and that they should have been done.
    "I cannot understand how a person who studies Islam and the Koran can justify the killing of 7,000 innocent persons.
    "So, we act not because we want to act but because we are forced to act.
    "We do not want to wage war and enter into conflicts."
    Mr Blair told the Arabic channel that Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network posed as big a threat to moderate Arab states as it did to the west.
    "This is not about the west versus Islam," he said.
    "Decent Muslims, millions of them in European countries have condemned these acts of terrorism in New York and elsewhere in America with every bit as much force as any of the rest of us."
    "Let us be clear when we listen to the words of Osama Bin Laden, if he has his way the regimes that he would replace regimes in the Arab world with would be like the Taleban in Afghanistan.
    "I don't believe that anybody seriously wants to live under that kind of regime."
    In other developments:

    • An emergency session of the House of Commons is held on Monday as Parliament was recalled for a third time since the US terror attacks.
    • British journalist Yvonne Ridley is released by the Taleban after 11 days in captivity.
    • The Muslim Council of Britain issues a statement saying it was "deeply saddened and gravely concerned" about the strikes, which threatened the safety of "the innocent Afghan people".
    • Scotland Yard drafts in more officers to patrol potentially vulnerable parts of London and "reassure" the public.
    • The Tories and the Liberal Democrats back the strikes.
    • The Foreign Office advises Britons in Indonesia to stay inside their homes amid fears of street protests.
    • Six RAF tanker aircraft, two TriStars from 216 Squadron and four VC10s from 10 and 216 squadrons, leave RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire for Akrotiri in Cyprus and possible deployment in the Gulf.

    The second wave of attacks aimed at the Taleban's military airfields, tanks and fighters came the day after UK and US air strikes targeted 30 command posts and bases in Afghanistan.
    Mr Hoon told BBC 2's Newsnight programme that it was not yet known how successful the Tomahawk missile strikes launched from UK submarines had been.
    "Until that assessment is clear it would not be sensible to attack the same targets again," he said.
    He conceded that sending in ground troops was "one of the options we are looking at".
    On Tuesday, Mr Hoon is due to visit Moscow to further discuss military co-operation with his counterpart Sergei Ivanov.

    Tuesday, 9 October, 2001, 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK

    Palestinian riot police
    Police charged demonstrators at the Islamic University

    By Kylie Morris in Gaza
    In a dank, but cool, Gaza City fruit juice shop, Mohammed is considering why, on Monday, Palestinian police opened fire on their own people.

    The whole business makes me sad. We didn't try to make peace with the Israelis to begin shooting one another
    Gazan fisherman
    They killed two, and critically injured others - in an iron-fisted attempt to crush a student protest against the attacks on Afghanistan.
    Mohammed thinks there must have been a misunderstanding, and that both sides must have made mistakes. "I accuse both sides," he says, "because no-one is respecting the law."
    Police used live fire and tear gas to disperse the demonstrators at the Islamic University campus. Their preparedness to use such force against unarmed demonstrators sparked a furious reaction.

    Confrontation between police and protesters
    Palestinians say this is not a time for divisions
    Gunmen engaged police in gun battles, and angry crowds burnt police stations in Gaza City, and in the refugee camps to the south.
    At first, police blamed the protesters for the violence, saying they had thrown stones at police officers. Later, they blamed masked gunmen for whipping up the violence.
    Whatever the detail, Mohammed says these things should not be happening in Gaza, and not between Palestinians.
    For now, the streets are quiet. The police are out in large numbers - but the protestors of Monday have stayed home.
    Palestinian factions like Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been asked to cool the tempers of the people, and the Palestinian Authority has appealed for unity.
    'Leave people to express themselves'
    Across the street from the fruit juice shop, a baker is loading circular flatbread into his industrial ovens.
    It's hot work, in a place where summer is reluctant to fade. He says he blames the police for what happened.

    Stone throwing protester
    Police accuse protesters of starting the trouble

    "They should leave the people to express themselves," he says.
    "They can manage the protests themselves, without the police intervening. It's not good for us to throw ourselves at one another, like that."
    Supplying the shopkeepers with his overnight catch, one fisherman shakes his head.
    "The whole business makes me sad," he says. "We didn't try to make peace with the Israelis to begin shooting one another."

    Tuesday, 9 October, 2001, 14:26 GMT 15:26 UK

    Palestinian riot police
    Witnesses said Palestinian police fired live ammunition

    The Palestinian Authority has declared a state of emergency and has called for unity, after violence on Monday left at least three protesters dead, apparently at the hands of their own police force.
    In scenes more reminiscent of clashes between Arabs and Israeli troops, thousands of Palestinians confronted their security forces in Gaza on Monday in support of Osama Bin Laden and in defiance of their leader Yasser Arafat.

    The leadership... calls on all national and Islamic forces to stand firm against elements who are trying to distort our strong national unity
    Palestinian statement
    Gaza City was calm on Tuesday, but all its schools and universities, including the Islamic University, the centre of Monday's protests, remained closed.
    The BBC's Gaza correspondent Kylie Morris reports that policemen are very visible on every street corner.
    She says there is an intelligence van parked outside the building where the BBC and other foreign media have their offices, monitoring their movements.
    Foreign journalists outside the Gaza Strip have not been allowed to enter since Monday's riots, and Erez checkpoint has been sealed off on the Palestinian side.
    Agitators blamed
    The violence followed the first US-led strikes on Afghanistan and a broadcast on al-Jazeera television by Bin Laden, America's chief suspect for the 11 September attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

    Protesters throws stones
    Dozens were wounded in the Gaza Strip
    Palestinian leaders set up an investigation and blamed agitators for sparking the violence.
    A statement said: "The leadership regrets these painful incidents.
    "It calls on all national and Islamic forces to stand firm against elements who are trying to distort our strong national unity."
    On Tuesday, Palestinian students in the West Bank protested against the use of force by their police in Gaza.
    Sit-ins were staged at the universities of Nablus and Bethlehem, and students held up banners reading "We will not allow Palestinian blood to be shed by Palestinians" and "No to political arrests."
    About 1,500 students from Nablus's al-Najah University marched, carrying banners protesting US air strikes and international sanctions on Iraq.
    Israel, for its part, praised the behaviour of the Palestinian police.
    "For the first time we congratulate the Palestinian Authority for taking the measures which it promised to implement against terrorists," said Raanan Gissin, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
    Angry individuals
    The BBC's Gaza correspondent said Tuesday's demonstrations were not actually organised by the radical groups Hamas or Islamic Jihad, but were rather a spontaneous protest of angry individuals - a much greater threat to the Palestinian Authority than organised opposition.

    For the first time we congratulate the Palestinian Authority for taking the measures which it promised to implement against terrorists
    Israeli spokesman Raanan Gissin
    Witnesses said the casualties came when police fired live bullets at the crowd.
    Police sources say it was masked gunmen who killed at least two of the three - a 13-year-old boy and a 21-year-old student of Gaza's Islamic University.
    Doctors said a third demonstrator was clinically dead on a life support machine.
    Police stations attacked
    About 5,000 people took part in the protest, many chanting slogans against the United States and Israel, urging Bin Laden to strike Tel Aviv.

    Palestinian youths hurl stones at the riot police in Gaza City
    A 13-year-old and a 21-year-old were killed
    Palestinian leaders had wanted to prevent a repeat of the anti-US demonstrations which took place after the 11 September attacks.
    If police were responsible for the deaths, it would be the first time Palestinian security forces had killed Palestinians during the current year-long uprising against Israel.
    The human rights group Amnesty International has called for a public inquiry into the Gaza violence.

    Wednesday, 10 October, 2001, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK

    Police face stone-thrower
    Three Palestinians were killed in clashes with police

    Palestinian police have arrested dozens of protesters in the Gaza Strip following violent demonstrations in support of Osama Bin Laden on Monday, say Palestinian militants.
    The Palestinian Authority eased restrictions on Wednesday which were imposed after three Palestinians were killed in clashes with Palestinian police in the worst internal violence in years.

    There is strong anger against the Palestinian Authority
    Mahmoud Zahar, Hamas
    Hundreds of demonstrators staged more protests on Wednesday against the crackdown.
    Meanwhile, Israeli tanks briefly entered Palestinian-controlled territory in the north of the Gaza Strip, destroying farmland near a Jewish settlement, according to Palestinian officials.
    Seeking to calm widespread anger, the Palestinian Authority reopened schools on Wednesday and allowed foreign journalists back into the Gaza Strip.
    However, two universities, where most of the protesters came from, remained closed indefinitely.
    More protests
    Ignoring appeals for calm from Palestinian officials, hundreds of high school students stormed the grounds of a police station in the Nusseirat refugee camp in southern Gaza.

    Palestinian police
    The Palestinian Authority is anxious to quell pro-Taleban demonstrations
    The compound was empty after it was evacuated when it came under attack from protesters on Monday.
    Palestinian police, meanwhile, patrolled the streets to prevent any further demonstrations in support of Bin Laden, the United States' prime suspect in the recent attacks on New York and Washington.
    About 50 student protesters were arrested following Monday's demonstrations, according to the militant Islamic movement, Hamas.
    Human rights groups say they will appeal for the students' release if they are not freed by Thursday.

    Thursday, 11 October, 2001, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK

    Colin Powell (left) and Ariel Sharon
    Powell: No compromise on Israel's "vital interests"

    Roger Hardy
    The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, has sought to reassure Israel of America's continuing support, following a number of reports that the Bush administration is preparing a new initiative on the Middle East.

    We will always support Israel's security. And it is the democratic nation in the region that we absolutely treasure as a friend
    Colin Powell
    Speaking on an American television programme, Mr Powell said the United States would never do anything to sell the Israelis out or trade away their security.
    "We will always support Israel's security. And it is the democratic nation in the region that we absolutely treasure as a friend," he said on NBC TV's Today programme.
    Mr Powell was responding to reports in the American press that the administration was preparing to put pressure on Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, to accept the idea of a viable Palestinian state - with Jerusalem as a shared capital.
    No compromise
    Mr Powell insisted the administration would not force Israel to compromise on its vital interests.

    Yasser Arafat in Bahrain, 8 October
    The US may propose a broad framework for peace with the Palestinians

    The Israeli press, too, is full of speculation that a planned US initiative - postponed because of the attacks against America on 11 September - is soon to be revived.
    If, as seems likely, the administration sets out some broad framework for an Israel-Palestinian peace settlement, it will not be anything like as ambitious as the plan outlined by former president Bill Clinton at the end of last year.
    This administration has never disguised its feeling that Mr Clinton got far too involved in the Middle East - and ended up with nothing to show for it.
    The need to reassure Israel was underlined by last week's outburst from Mr Sharon warning that Israel would not be another Czechoslovakia - a reference to the way Britain sacrificed Czechoslovakia in the run-up to World War II.
    The White House described his remarks as "unacceptable".
    Since then both sides have been seeking to lower the temperature.
    While still anxious about Washington's intentions, Israelis are pleased that the list of America's 22 most wanted terrorist suspects issued by Mr Bush on Wednesday contained the names of three members of the Lebanese group Hezbollah.
    Ever since the 11 September, Israel has been urging Mr Bush to widen his war against terrorism to include Islamic groups who have launched attacks against Israel.

    Saturday, 13 October, 2001, 03:19 GMT 04:19 UK

    Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat chairs cabinet meeting, 12 October
    Arafat has moved to suppress anti-US feeling

    Palestinian leaders have called on US President George W Bush to match his words on the creation of a Palestinian state with action.
    Mr Bush said earlier that there should be a Palestinian state as long as the Palestinians recognised Israel's right to exist.

    We don't need photo opportunities or declarations that are not implemented
    Yasser Abed Rabbo, Palestinian information minister

    He also applauded the efforts of the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat "to control the radical elements within the Palestinian Authority".
    Emphasising that the Middle East remained one of the most important parts of US foreign policy, Mr Bush said he looked forward to a renewal of negotiations towards a political solution in the region.
    But the Israeli Cabinet Minister, Danny Naveh, said there was no place for new political plans under the current circumstances - a clear reference to the 11 September terror attacks on America.

    Launch new window:CLICKABLE MAP
    Middle East states: Where they stand

    Mr Bush spoke of the creation of a separate Palestinian state, while seeking to reassure Israel that the United States remained its best friend.
    "I believe there ought to be a Palestinian state... so long as the Palestinian state recognises the right of Israel to exist and will treat Israel with respect and will be peaceful on her borders," Mr Bush said.
    But a senior Palestinian official, Yasser Abed Rabbo, took up Mr Bush's words and challenged him to act on them.

    Palestinian militants with internet screens
    Israel wants militant Palestinian groups included in the war on terrorism

    "We don't need photo opportunities or declarations that are not implemented," he said.
    The Israeli press is full of speculation that a planned US initiative - postponed because of the attacks against America on 11 September - is soon to be revived.
    BBC Middle East analyst Roger Hardy says if the Bush administration does set out some broad framework for an Israel-Palestinian peace settlement, it will not be anything like as ambitious as the plan outlined by former President Bill Clinton at the end of last year.
    The Bush administration has never disguised its feeling that Mr Clinton got far too involved in the Middle East - and ended up with nothing to show for it.
    The need to reassure Israel was underlined by last week's remarks from Mr Sharon warning that Israel would not be another Czechoslovakia - a reference to the way Western Europe allowed Germany to invade Czechoslovakia in the run-up to World War II.
    The White House described Mr Sharon's remarks as "unacceptable".
    Since then both sides have been seeking to lower the temperature.
    While still anxious about Washington's intentions, Israelis are pleased that the list of America's 22 most wanted terrorist suspects issued by Mr Bush on Wednesday contained the names of three members of the Lebanese group Hezbollah.
    Ever since 11 September, Israel has been urging Mr Bush to widen his war against terrorism to include Islamic groups who have launched attacks against Israel.

    Sunday, 14 October, 2001, 22:18 GMT 23:18 UK

    Palestinian mourners carry body of Abdul Rahman Hamad
    Hamas has vowed "painful" revenge for the killing

    Israel has admitted that its troops shot dead a prominent member of the militant Islamic group Hamas, Abdul Rahman Hamad, in the West Bank town of Qalqilya.
    Qalqilya's governor, Mustafa Malki, said Hamad was killed by two bullets to the chest as he stood on the flat roof of his house on Sunday.

    We will exercise our right to self-defence just as the United States is doing in Afghanistan
    Israeli spokesman Raanan Gissin
    Hamad's funeral procession took place as Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat left for London, where he is due to discuss the regional peace process with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair on Monday.
    Palestinians have accused Israel of instigating violence to undermine Mr Arafat's visit, which they see as a step towards a White House invitation to the Palestinian leader.
    'Not first, not last'
    But Israel insists that its policy of targeting militants it says are involved in attacks on Israeli civilians is a legitimate act of self defence.
    "This is not the first and not the last," Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said of the killing. "We made our stance clear regarding this issue and our stance is clear and that is how we will act."
    Earlier, Mr Sharon's office issued a statement, saying Hamad, 35, had been responsible for directing the suicide attack at a Tel Aviv disco in June, which killed 22 people.

    This is a crime and means the Israeli promises for calm are mere lies and we cannot trust them
    Yasser Abed Rabbo
    Palestinian minister
    "If we see no measures are taken against these terrorists and there are casualties... we will exercise our right to self-defence just as the United States is doing in Afghanistan," said Mr Sharon's spokesman, Raanan Gissin.
    Thousands of Palestinians attended Hamad's funeral in Qalqilya - some firing assault rifles into the air and calling for revenge.
    In spite of the day's violence, the warring parties continued to talk.
    Palestinian, Israeli and US officials met in the Tel Aviv area for high-level talks to discuss ways to strengthen the fragile truce and pave the way to future talks, Palestinian officials said.
    And in the West Bank city of Hebron, security chiefs from both sides met to discuss Israel's withdrawal from areas of the city it had reoccupied after Palestinians there fired at Jewish settlers.
    Promises and lies
    Remarking on the killing of Hamad, Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo told Voice of Palestine radio: "This is a crime and means the Israeli promises for calm are mere lies and we cannot trust them."
    "Our people must make sure that they are at maximum alert. They must not pay attention to the promises of the Israeli Government, but rather see its actions on the ground," he said.
    A BBC correspondent in Jerusalem says this attack is a revival of Israel's policy of targeting suspected militants it says are involved in attacks on Israelis.
    It is the first targeted killing carried out by Israel in about six weeks.
    Hamas has not acknowledged the ceasefire, and has carried out several attacks in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in recent weeks.
    It has now vowed to retaliate for Hamad's death.
    "Israel will pay a very heavy price for this act," a senior Hamas official, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, told the Reuters news agency. "We will definitely respond very painfully."
    Israel to ease blockades
    The Israeli cabinet, meanwhile, has said it will ease the military blockade of Palestinian areas because of a decrease in violence.
    The measures announced by the cabinet include easing severe travel restrictions in the West Bank and Gaza, and letting some Palestinian workers back into Israel.
    The Israeli authorities had delayed these steps, accusing the Palestinians of violating the truce.
    Now they say the violence is beginning to decrease.
    The BBC's Barbara Plett in Jerusalem says Israeli officials are uneasy about growing support for Mr Arafat in the US and Britain. The two countries are reaching out to him as they try to draw Arab states into their coalition against terror.
    Israel has tried to portray the Palestinian leader as a terrorist and says he is not clamping down on militants.
    But under pressure from the US, it has decided to take some conciliatory steps.

    Monday, 15 October, 2001, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK

    Yasser Arafat arriving at Heathrow Airport
    Yasser Arafat is facing dissent from some sections of the Palestinian community

    The BBC's Barbara Plett visits the Balata refugee camp in the West Bank and outlines the divisions which pose a dilemma for Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
    A metal door swings open to welcome the emergency rations to the Balata refugee camp, near the town of Nablus.
    This food is delivered by local officials of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement. They are helping people in the camp make it through the tough times as the Intifada drags on.
    Balata's dirty narrow lanes are pretty bleak even at the best of times. There is no hope here, no future.

    The conflict with Israel is still the main concern here. But underneath that there is tension between the town and the camp
    It is mostly people from dead end places like this who carry the guns in the uprising. Getting them to put down their weapons now is not so easy. At least that is what one Fatah militant told me.
    "Yasser Arafat is the leader of our people but we won't obey his orders for a ceasefire because the Israelis are still shooting, even if he tries to keep us down by force," he said.
    Traditional city
    Every evening, the call to prayer echoes through the quiet hills as the sun sets over Nablus.
    It is a rich old city traditionally run by large wealthy families. If anyone benefited from the attempt to make peace with Israel it was them.
    The conflict with Israel is still the main concern here. But underneath that there is tension between the town and the camp.

    Palestinian child throws stones at an Israeli tank
    The intifada has raged for more than a year
    The mayor of Nablus, Hassan Shekker, showed me around a well-equipped centre for children. It is just one of the projects of which he is proud.
    Residents of the town have benefited quite a bit from his efforts to improve services. The refugees, however, have not benefited as much.
    Shekker acknowledges these class differences but says they don't cause divisions.
    "I'm one of the rich families in the city," he said. "I am one of the old families in the city, but I don't believe I have any kind of disagreement with any family or any person on the basis of the Intifada or the authority, or even the PLO."
    The enemy within
    But the bodyguards who surround Mr Shekker's black four-wheel drive vehicle aren't protecting him from Israelis.
    His relations with militants in the camps are strained. He has tried to disarm them and failed. It is the poor who have paid the heaviest price over the past year of fighting and they want something back.

    The funerals of eight of Palestinians killed in the Intifada
    Nablus is the scene of many confrontations with Israelis
    They are demanding an end to Israeli occupation, of course, but ultimately they may ask for more.
    "They want to see that there are real changes on the ground regarding the political regime," said Nablus politician Dalal Salameh.
    Ms Salameh supports classes that teach teenagers traditional Palestinian dance steps. Culture is seen as part of the struggle. After all, it is a nationalist uprising.
    Yasser Arafat has to convince the foot soldiers of the Intifada that his policies will lead to an independent state.
    He may also have to widen the circle of power and give them a role in deciding what kind of state it will be.

    Monday, 15 October, 2001, 16:36 GMT 17:36 UK

    Tony Blair and Yasser Arafat
    Blair said they had a "very good discussion"

    Tony Blair has said now is the time to reinvigorate the Middle East peace process.

    Now is the right time to reinvigorate the peace process
    Tony Blair

    Mr Blair, who had been meeting the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat said he wanted to see a viable Palestinian state.
    His view chimed with recent comments by US President George W Bush, but he rejected suggestions that moves to restart the peace process were designed simply to blunt Arab and Muslim anger at the air strikes in Afghanistan.
    "It is important in its own right, irrespective of what happened on 11 September," he said.

    We will not start negotiations under fire
    Israeli Government spokesman Avi Pazner
    Mr Blair stressed it was his 11th meeting as prime minister with Mr Arafat and spoke of the "huge engagement" with the peace process given by the UK, US and other nations months before the terror attacks.
    Mr Arafat urged an immediate resumption of negotiations with Israel, repeating his call for an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital that would exist alongside the Jewish state.

    Palestinian child throws stones at an Israeli tank in Hebron
    Israel has withdrawn tanks from Hebron
    But Israeli Government spokesman Avi Pazner told the BBC that the Palestinians would have to do more to enforce a ceasefire and arrest Palestinian militants before any more progress could be made.
    Mr Pazner told the BBC that the idea of a Palestinian state was "one of the options".
    He said: "We are eager to see a resumption of negotiations, but we have to see first that the ceasefire is holding on the ground.
    "We will not start negotiations under fire."
    Israel accused
    Mr Arafat's visit comes amid conflicting signals on the ground in the Middle East, with Israel pulling troops back from Palestinian-controlled areas in the divided city of Hebron, but also resuming its policy of killing suspected militants.
    Palestinians on Monday accused Israel of killing a militant in a car bombing in the West Bank town of Nablus, the second member of the hardline Islamic group Hamas to be killed in 24 hours.

    Launch new window:CLICKABLE MAP
    Middle East states: Where they stand

    Palestinians have accused Israel of instigating violence to undermine Mr Arafat's visit, which comes at Mr Blair's invitation.Mr Arafat's visit to London has angered many Israelis.
    Zalman Shoval, a senior foreign policy adviser to Mr Sharon, told the Today programme Mr Blair knew Mr Arafat was an "unrepentant terrorist".

    Funeral of Hamas activist Abdel Rahman Hamad, killed by Israeli forces on Sunday
    Israel continues targeting militants
    "Even if he changes his tune at this time, it is not because he has changed his views about Israel but because he wants to be in the good grace of America and the west in general."
    Mr Arafat was also meeting Mr Straw and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey on Monday, and holding talks with Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy.
    Later, he will visit Dublin to discuss the situation in the Middle East with Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.
    It is possible that Mr Blair will stage a similar meeting with Mr Sharon early next month, when the Israeli prime minister is scheduled to visit London for a charity event.
    But BBC Middle East correspondent Jeremy Cooke says that Mr Sharon routinely refers to Palestinian terrorism and despite the wishes of Washington and London, it is difficult to see any common ground.
    The Israeli prime minister is also under pressure at home - two right wing ministers have resigned from his coalition government after what they regard as unacceptable concessions to the Palestinians.
    The year-long Palestinian uprising, aimed at Israeli military occupation and creeping Jewish settlement of land seized in the 1967 Middle East war, has cost 875 lives, including 676 Palestinians and 176 Israelis.

    Monday, 15 October, 2001, 03:43 GMT 04:43 UK

    Yasser Arafat
    Arafat was quick to offer support to the US after attacks

    By BBC diplomatic correspondent James Robbins
    The Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is in London for talks with Tony Blair to discuss the stalled Middle East peace process.
    The meeting comes after both the British and American governments have talked openly of a resolution which would include the creation of a Palestinian state.
    Mr Arafat arrived at London Heathrow Airport clearly relishing the prospect of a meeting with Tony Blair, "first friend" and "first ally" to President George W Bush.
    The talks at 10 Downing Street are partly a reward for the Palestinian leader's immediate condemnation of the attacks on America last month, and Mr Arafat made every effort at the airport to stress their significance.
    "This is a very important visit and we hope we will discuss with the prime minister the whole situation in the Middle East and the whole situation internationally, especially after what has happened with the terrorist activities."

    Tony Blair
    Tony Blair is hoping to move on the stalled peace process
    It is very clear, and it became even clearer to Tony Blair during his talks last week in the Middle East, that there can be no eradication of terrorism, and in particular the causes of terrorism, as long as the sore of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict remains unresolved.
    Mr Arafat will be told to accept less and Ariel Sharon will be told to give more in the "land for peace" negotiations that have foundered on the rocks of Jerusalem and Israeli settlements.
    There will be enormous pressure now on both parties to get serious and talk.
    But inside Number 10 the Palestinian leader will be urged to go further - controlling Palestinian extremists, policing his own people, and working for a genuine ceasefire.
    Mr Sharon has already been badly wrong-footed by the attacks on America of September 11.
    Suddenly Israel was no longer the greatest victim of terrorism and suicide murderers.
    Suddenly, Mr Arafat was on side with the United States, joining the political coalition against terrorism.
    Mr Arafat was not one of those the war against terror was directed against.

    Ariel Sharon
    Ariel Sharon was carpeted for the comments he made in the wake of the US attacks
    But Ariel Sharon dug himself into a still deeper hole by accusing the United States of appeasing terrorists, and deserting Israelis, with echoes of the appeasement of the Nazis before World War II.
    The rebuff from the White House was icy.
    His remarks were called "unacceptable" (diplo-speak for "outrageous") and the Israeli Prime Minister has been smarting ever since.
    Mr Sharon is under unprecedented pressure, with Tony Blair and President Bush talking of the need for a Palestinian state - even if they take care to add that Israel's interests must also be protected.
    So a man elected by the Israeli people to protect their interests has angered President Bush by kicking against American pressure to talk more of peace and less of force.
    Still, we are a long way from the days little more than a year ago, when a retiring President, Bill Clinton could bring an Israeli and Palestinian leader together to talks in Egypt.
    Monday's Downing Street session for Yasser Arafat is meant to help kickstart a peace process that is almost dead.
    But it will take a sustained process of diplomatic pressure, involving the United Nations as well as Washington, London and other EU capitals, before anything like a first breakthrough is possible.
    One pointer to watch for is how soon will Yasser Arafat get the reward he really craves - a "face to face" with Mr Bush, preferably inside the White House?
    That will be a favour withheld by the administration unless Mr Arafat does more, or Mr Sharon needs another hefty shove towards dialogue.

    Monday, 15 October, 2001, 08:40 GMT 09:40 UK

    Palestinian children throw stones at Israeli tanks in Hebron
    Israeli tanks held strategic sites for 10 days

    Israeli forces have withdrawn from strategic positions in the divided West Bank city of Hebron following security talks with Palestinian officials.
    The tanks and troops had occupied the Palestinian neighbourhoods of Abu Sneinah and Wadi al-Harria since 5 October, two days after Palestinian gunmen fired on a crowd of Jewish worshippers.
    Israeli and Palestinian sources said Israel is preparing further confidence-building measures in an effort to salvage a battered ceasefire agreed on 26 September.

    Israeli moves
    Withdrawal from Hebron neighbourhoods
    Lifting of some roadblocks
    Opening of border crossings
    Resumption of gasoline supplies
    Separately, Hamas activist Ahmed Marshoud was killed in the West Bank city of Nablus on Monday when a car exploded as he was walking past.
    There are conflicting reports as to the cause of the explosion.
    The Israeli army has not commented on the death of Marshoud, who was wanted by Israel.
    Political firestorm
    The Hebron withdrawal has provoked a furious reaction from leading Israeli figures.
    Defence Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer threatened to fire army Chief of Staff General Shaul Mofaz for publicly criticising the government's decision, the Jerusalem Post reported.

    Israeli Defence Minster Binyamin Ben-Eliezer
    Mr Ben-Eliezer rebuked General Mofaz
    Mr Mofaz issued a press statement on Sunday expressing his opposition to withdrawing from the Hebron positions - an unusual move for a military officer.
    Mr Ben-Eliezer was reportedly furious to learn about the public statement while discussing the issue in a cabinet meeting.
    Two hardline ministers announced they would leave Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government in protest against the Israeli redeployment.
    Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze-evi and National Infrastructure Minister Avigdor Lieberman of the hawkish National Union-Yisrael Beiteinu bloc are expected to make their resignation official on Monday morning.
    The resignations will not deprive Mr Sharon's broad coalition of its parliamentary majority.
    Some two dozen Jewish residents of Hebron, including many minors, were arrested overnight during clashes with the withdrawing Israeli forces.
    Security deal
    The BBC's James Reynolds in Jerusalem says that Palestinians agreed to prevent further shooting at Jewish settlers in Hebron.

    Demonstrators with flags
    Israeli settlements have drawn Palestinian protests
    Some 400 Jewish settlers live under heavy guard in the city of 130,000 Palestinians.
    Israel has also reportedly agreed to lift roadblocks in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and re-open border crossings with Egypt and Jordan.
    Israel is also to resume gasoline supplies to the Palestinian Authority.
    Sunday's security talks between Israel and the Palestinians came as Mr Arafat arrived in London for talks with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair on Monday.
    Mr Blair, a strong ally of the United States in its actions against Osama bin Laden, has said that agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is essential to any strategy for fighting terrorism.
    Activist killed
    The two sides held talks despite an admission by Mr Sharon that Israel was responsible for the death of Hamas official Abdel Rahman Hamad on Sunday.

    The funeral of Hamas activist Abdel Rahman Hamad
    Hamad was buried on Sunday
    Israel says Hamad was responsible for a suicide bombing at a Tel Aviv disco in June in which 22 people died.
    Israel defends its policy of targeting militants it accuses of involvement in attacks on Israeli civilians as a legitimate act of self defence.
    "This is not the first and not the last," Mr Sharon said of the killing. "We made our stance clear regarding this issue and our stance is clear and that is how we will act."
    The policy has been criticised by the Palestinians and international human rights groups.

    Wednesday, 17 October, 2001, 08:34 GMT 09:34 UK

    Rehavam Zeevi, left, and Avigdor Lieberman
    Zeevi (left) resigned the cabinet on Monday with fellow hawk Lieberman

    Rehavam Ze'evi was a highly controversial politician, even by the standards of Israel where the politics is controversial by its very nature.
    He was known as one of the most hardline politicians in the country - an advocate of deporting Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza to Arab countries.
    His assassination came on the very day he was due to leave the cabinet, after tendering his resignation as tourism minister two days earlier.
    Typically, it was not an issue involving tourism - about which he rarely spoke - which triggered the resignation, but over his brand of hardline, ultra-nationalist policies towards Palestinians in the occupied territories.
    Along with ally Avigdor Lieberman of Israel Beitenu, he resigned in protest at Israel's withdrawal from parts of Hebron and plans to reduce a blockade against Palestinians.
    Military man
    Like many Israeli politicians, the 75-year-old Zeevi had a long and successful career in the Israeli army, rising to the position of general in charge of the central region, including the West Bank.

    Zeevi (left) shakes hands with Sharon (right)
    Mr Zeevi (left) represented the extreme right in the Sharon cabinet
    He left the army in 1974, entering politics initially as counter-terrorism adviser to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin - who also died by an assassins bullet in six years ago. He found his own party, Moledet (Homeland) later renamed the National Union party, in 1988, .
    Rehavam Zeevi gained notoriety for comparing Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to Adolf Hitler and for his policy of "transferring", or expelling, Palestinians from areas Israel seized in the 1967 war.
    He also referred to some Palestinians - those working illegally in Israel - as "lice" who must be stopped like "cancer spreading within us".

    During his time in the army, Rehavam Zeevi gained the nickname "Gandhi", because he was very thin and used to shave his head.
    The hair may have grown back and the frame thickened - but the nickname stuck, an ironic tribute to his far-from-Ghandi-like politics.
    He joined Ariel Sharon's coalition government earlier this year as minister of tourism.
    He spent much of his time calling for tough measures against Palestinians, which brought him into conflict with more moderate figures in the cabinet.
    This conflict peaked just a few days ago when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to pull Israeli forces out of Palestinian neighbourhoods in the West Bank city of Hebron.

    Wednesday, 17 October, 2001, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK

    Assassinated Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi on a tour of the West Bank Hebron
    Zeevi was known for his hardline anti-Arab views 

    By BBC News Online's Martin Asser
    The death of Israeli minister Rehavam Zeevi pushes the Middle East towards a new level of instability - at a time when calm in the region is a priority to Israel's US ally as it conducts its "war against terrorism".
    It is the first assassination of a ranking Israeli politician since Yitzhak Rabin's in 1995 and - given the claim of responsibility by Palestinian militants - the first by Arab hands since the establishment of Israel in 1948.

    Ariel Sharon visiting hospital where Zeevi died
    Sharon: "A new era has started, and what was before will never be again"
    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon appears to view killing as Israel's equivalent to the 11 September attacks on the United States - something which heralds a "new era", after which nothing will ever be the same.
    Meanwhile, Palestinians see parallels with Israel's assassination of the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Abu Ali Mustafa in August.
    The PFLP has been quick to claim responsibility for the attack, but Yasser Arafat's Palestinian leadership has condemned it, and called on Israel to end its policy of "targeted killings" of Palestinians, which has ended the lives of dozens of activists this year.
    Life after 11 September
    The assassination came as Mr Sharon faced his first major coalition crisis since forming a unity coalition government earlier this year.
    By an almost unbelievable coincidence, Mr Zeevi had been due to leave the cabinet only hours before his death.
    His resignation - at the government's "soft line" on the Palestinians - did not threaten Mr Sharon's comfortable 32-seat majority - which has 76 seats in the 120-seat Knesset - but it did leave the coalition exposed to further defections on the right.
    Washington had been hoping that the shock of the 11 September suicide attacks would force the Israelis and Palestinians to abandon the violence that has raged since September last year.

    Hyatt Hotel in Jerusalem
    How did the gunmen gain access to a hotel frequented by politicians
    Instead, there is now a paradoxical situation in which the overall level of violence has gone down - but vendetta-style killings go on, with Wednesday's assassination following the deaths of two, or possibly three, members of the militant Islamic group Hamas, killed by Israel in recent days.
    The danger now is that - despite continuing calls for restraint from Washington and other capitals - Mr Sharon will feel that such an act demands strong retaliation.
    But searching questions must also be asked about Israel's security apparatus, even if this form of political violence has not been faced before.
    How did gunmen manage to gain access to a hotel frequented by political figures and to the room of such a controversial anti-Arab figure as Rehavam Zeevi?
    Memories of 1982
    Some in Israel have already started to draw parallels with the near-fatal shooting by a Palestinian gunman of Israeli ambassador to London Shlomo Argov in 1982 - an event which triggered Israel's bloody invasion of Lebanon, presided over by the then-Defence Minister, Ariel Sharon.

    Assassinated Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi
    Zeevi criticised government for being "too soft" on Palestinians
    Then, as now, Israel blamed Mr Arafat for something that many believed to be out of his control.
    The Palestinians say that politically they are not in a position to arrest the militants Israel wants them to while there is so much public anger over the continuing "targeted killings".
    Nevertheless Israeli officials have now threatened severe retaliation for what they see as an escalation of Palestinian terrorism.
    Health Minister Nissim Dahan said: "I want to remind the public that after an attack of a diplomat [Argov] at an embassy, a war broke out."
    It could therefore prove ironic that, on the day he died, Zeevi was due to leave the government in protest at a loosening of Israel's grip on the Palestinian territories, while his death might herald a stiffening of the government's resolve to take harsh measures against the Palestinians.

    Wednesday, 17 October, 2001, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK

    Rehavam Zeevi and his wife Yael
    Zeevi's wife found him lying in front of their hotel room 

    Israel's hard-line Tourism Minister, Rehavam Zeevi, has been shot dead by gunmen in a Jerusalem hotel.

    After prolonged efforts to revive him... the doctors saw that all hope had totally ended
    Dr Shmuel Shapira
    Mr Zeevi died in hospital after being shot three times in the head and throat inside Jerusalem's Hyatt Hotel.
    The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has said it carried out the assassination in revenge for the killing of its leader Abu Ali Mustafa, by Israeli forces in August.
    Following the shooting of Mr Zeevi, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned that a "new era" had begun, vowing things could never be the same, Israeli public radio said.
    'No pulse'
    Mr Zeevi was rushed to the city's Hadassah Hospital, with Israel army radio quoting emergency services members as saying he had no pulse on arrival.
    Mr Zeevi died at 1000 (0800 GMT) about three hours after being shot, said Dr Shmuel Shapira, deputy director of Hadassah Hospital.

    "After prolonged efforts to revive him... the doctors saw that all hope had totally ended," Dr Shapira said.
    Mr Zeevi was the head of the right-wing National Union Party, formerly the Moledet Party, and resigned from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government on Monday in protest at Israel's military pull-out from Hebron.
    His resignation had been due to take effect at 1300 (1100 GMT) on Wednesday.
    No bodyguards
    Mr Zeevi had been in the dining room of the hotel with his wife when he made his way up to their room on the eighth floor, police said.

    Jerusalem Hyatt Hotel
    The hotel has been sealed off as police investigate

    Once there he was approached by two gunmen who shot him several times at close range, including twice in the head.
    According to the BBC's James Reynolds in Jerusalem Mr Zeevi had no bodyguards with him at the time and the gunmen were able to escape.
    When his wife followed him up to their room ten minutes later she found him lying in a critical condition in front of the door, police said.
    An American tourist, David Hocking, who was also staying in the hotel, ran into the corridor after hearing Mr Zeevi's wife screaming.
    "I saw her kneeling over him and he had obviously been shot, blood was everywhere," he said.
    Mr Hocking said that he had not heard any shots fired and the police are investigating whether a silencer was used.
    The hotel is in an area of east Jerusalem surrounded by Palestinian villages where a number of attacks have occurred in the past.
    Mr Sharon is holding an emergency meeting with his top security and cabinet officials to discuss the assassination.

    We vowed to avenge the killing of leader Abu Ali Mustafa and we fulfilled our promise
    PFLP statement

    Security for the Israeli Cabinet has been beefed up in recent months, with some ministers saying that they had received extra body guards, but several of them, including Mr Zeevi, were reported to have refused the new security measures.
    The Palestinian Authority has condemned the killing, but urged Israel to halt its policy of killing Palestinians.
    "We feel sorry about this assassination. We reject all forms of political assassinations. We want to put an end to this vicious cycle of killing," Cabinet Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said.
    The radical PFLP group has claimed responsibility for trying to kill Mr Zeevi saying, "we vowed to avenge the killing of leader Abu Ali Mustafa and we fulfilled our promise."
    Abu Ali Mustafa was killed by Israeli forces in August.
    As news broke of the shooting broke, dozens of Palestinians in the Ain El-Hilweh refugee camp in south Lebanon rushed into the street carrying pictures of Mustafa and dancing.

    A boy throws stones at an Israeli tank in Hebron
    Zeevi objected to Israeli withdrawals from Hebron

    A senior PFLP official, Rabah Muhana, told the BBC's Kylie Morris in Gaza that Mr Zeevi was also targeted for his right-wing views.
    "The Israelis killed one prominent leader and Mr Zeevi is one of those who have very, very right-wing points of view on discrimination - he wants to deport Palestinians and he is with the most severe terrorism against the Palestinians," he said.
    Mr Zeevi was one of the most controversial politicians in Israel. He had repeatedly called for Arabs to be transferred out of the state and is notorious for using the line: "Let the Arabs go back to Mecca".
    Mr Muhana also warned that that the matter will not end with the end of Mr Zeevi, saying that Israelis would continue to pay the price of Palestinian anger unless they ensured a real and stable peace.

    Thursday, 18 October, 2001, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK

    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Yael Zeevi, the widow of slain minister Rehavam Zeevi
    Sharon said Zeevi was an adversary and a friend

    Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi, who was assassinated by Palestinian radicals in a Jerusalem hotel on Wednesday, has been buried at Mount Herzl cemetery.
    Eight Israeli generals carried the coffin of the ultra-nationalist former general to burial after leaders and family members eulogised him at a state ceremony attended by hundreds of mourners.

    Israel will act against the Palestinian Authority in the way currently accepted by the international community to act against a leadership that supports terror
    Cabinet secretary Gideon Saar
    Zeevi's son, Yiftach, called on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to avenge his father's death: "Avenge the way [Zeevi] would avenge you," he said.
    Earlier, a Palestinian schoolgirl and two security force members were killed by Israeli tank fire in the West Bank, as the Palestinian leadership rejected an Israeli ultimatum to hand over Zeevi's killers.
    Palestinian authorities arrested at least three prominent members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which said it carried out Zeevi's assassination, but are refusing to hand anyone over.
    In the first sign of retaliation for his killing, Israeli forces earlier entered Palestinian-controlled Ramallah and the outskirts of Jenin, where shots fired from an advancing tank hit the classroom of an elementary school, killing 11-year-old Riham Nabil and injuring five others, one seriously.

    Rehavam Zeevi
    Zeevi was the first Israeli minister killed by Palestinians
    A police sergeant and a member of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Force 17 security organisation were shot dead in Ramallah as gunfire erupted after tanks and bulldozers pushed into the town.
    In Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, the Palestinian minister for the city, Ziad Abu Zayyad, said his house and some others had been searched overnight by Israeli police and soldiers with dogs.
    The showdown threatens to undercut Washington's efforts to win broad Arab and Muslim support for its military strikes against Afghanistan where Osama Bin Laden, the prime suspect in the 11 September suicide attacks on the US, is thought to be hiding.
    Mourners, some in tears, filed past Zeevi's coffin in front of parliament before it was taken to Mount Herzl for burial late on Thursday afternoon.

    Today we are parting from a determined and hard person whose love for the country was greater than his love of people
    Ariel Sharon
    "I am parting from you, Gandhi, with great pain, an adversary and a friend," Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said, using Zeevi's nickname to eulogise him.
    "Today we are parting from a determined and hard person whose love for the country was greater than his love of people," he said.
    Rehavam Zeevi was a highly controversial politician. A staunch opponent of the land-for-peace deals with the Palestinians, he was shot dead outside his room in a Jerusalem hotel by two unknown gunmen early on Wednesday morning, the very day his resignation from cabinet was due to take effect.

    Israeli tanks enter the West Bank town of Ramallah
    Three Palestinians were killed in Israeli incursions to the West Bank
    Cabinet secretary Gideon Saar told Mr Arafat to hand over Zeevi's killers or face the consequences.
    Israel, he said, would "act against the Palestinian Authority in the way currently accepted by the international community to act against a leadership that supports terror".
    The cabinet also demanded that the Palestinian leader outlaw several militant groups that have carried out attacks against Israelis.
    Correspondents say the cabinet's threat hints at the possibility that Israel's established policy of "targeted killings" of Palestinians allegedly involved in anti-Israel attacks could be extended to include direct attacks on Palestinian Authority officials.
    The Palestinians are reported to have rejected the ultimatum and top Arafat aide Nabil Abu Rudeina accused Israel of plotting the assassination of Mr Arafat himself and other senior figures in an attempt to destroy the peace process.
    A PFLP spokesman in Damascus named Front members arrested as Rabah Muhana, a member of the political office, central committee member Yunes al-Jarou and Hani Habib, an official in the Gaza Strip.
    Kayed al-Gul, a Front official in Gaza, said: "This is bad for Palestinian national unity. It's a bad move for the Palestinian police. We ask Palestinian police to release the three leaders as soon as possible."
    The PFLP said it had killed Zeevi in revenge for the killing of its leader, Abu Ali Mustafa, by Israeli forces in August.
    Despite long years of bloodshed in the Arab-Israeli conflict, this is the first time ever that Palestinian militants have succeeded in assassinating an elected Israeli official.

    Thursday, 18 October, 2001, 12:49 GMT 13:49 UK

    Hundreds of Israelis, some in tears, have been filing past Rehavam Zeevi's coffin in front of the Knesset, the country's parliament, as the country mourned its first elected official slain by Palestinian militants.

    The coffin, draped in an Israeli flag, was brought to the plaza in front of the Knesset building early on Thursday and is being buried at the Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem, where assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is buried.

    Rehavam Zeevi's coffin
    Zeevi's coffin was placed on a dais in front of the Knesset
    Israeli mourners
    Hundreds of people gathered to pay their respects
    An Israeli woman salutes Zeevi's coffin
    Zeevi's death has caused shock throughout the country
    An Israeli mourner raises a fist to the sky
    Some are calling for revenge
    Grave diggers prepare a grave for Zeevi
    Zeevi will be buried in Mount Herzl cemetery where those who gave their lives to Israel are buried
    Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres (right) and Defence Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer
    The Israeli Cabinet was stunned by the killing

    Friday, 19 October, 2001, 21:50 GMT 22:50 UK

    Ariel Sharon, left, at the funeral of assassinated minister Rehavam Zeevi
    Sharon says Zeevi's assassination changed everything

    Barbara Plett
    After hesitant steps to assist US efforts aimed at cooling the Middle East conflict, the mood in Israel has swung firmly back to the right.
    The assassination of the hardline Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi by Palestinian militants has led the Israeli security cabinet to "embark on the path that will lead to the removal of the Palestinian Authority", according to Israeli defence analyst Alex Fishman.

    The governments of Israel know how to start a war - they have never known how to extricate themselves from one
    Opposition leader Yossi Sarid
    "After the attack on Zeevi, everything has changed," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was quoted as saying by the Yedioth Ahronoth daily.
    "We are in a new era. I have finished with (Palestinian Leader Yasser) Arafat, I intend to lead the government on another path."
    Mr Sharon has reportedly given Mr Arafat seven days to impose complete quiet in the Palestinian territories, a demonstrably impossible task, before "we'll go to war on him."
    Pressure stepped up
    In the meantime the army has returned to tactics common before the latest attempt at a cease fire: incursions into Palestinian controlled towns and killing Palestinian militants on Israel's most wanted lists.
    Writing in Yedioth Ahronoth, Fishman says these measures are meant to step up pressure on the Palestinian Authority with the idea of toppling it, if it does not start dealing with terror the way Israel understands it.
    A plan to get rid of Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority has been floating around since the beginning of the intifada, or uprise, but hardliners appear to be running with it now in the outrage after Zeevi's death.
    Publicly, the government has given Mr Arafat an ultimatum - to arrest and extradite Zeevi's killers or else, in the words of one minister, "all bets are off". But it has not officially stated what that means.
    An eye to Washington
    Whatever Israel's generals are indeed planning, they are packaging it with an eye on the US response to the terror attacks on New York and Washington.
    Newspapers report that government ministers are off to the United States and Europe to tell them that the Palestinian Authority is Israel's Taleban, an entity that "harbours terrorists."
    They will say that Israel will "act in accordance with international guidelines," if the authority does not meet its ultimatum - a suggestion that it might revert to Afghanistan-style raids.

    Do what you want, dream your dreams - in the end you'll understand that we need to talk and talk with the Palestinian Authority
    Foreign Minister Shimon Peres
    It is not clear whether this campaign will be any more successful than previous efforts to brand Mr Arafat as Israel's Osama Bin Laden.
    The United States and Britain did not buy that argument, not least because they do not want to anger Arab states needed for their coalition against terrorism.
    But the Europeans have long believed that Mr Arafat could be a peace partner if he were given tangible concessions, and some observers say the Bush administration seems to be coming around to that view.
    'Lebanonisation' risk
    The Palestinian Authority has started a flurry of arrests, but it will almost certainly not extradite the suspects: It can only take a crackdown so far before it risks serious internal unrest.
    Critics have warned that Israel would have to deal with a fragmented and radical population if it tried to get rid of Mr Arafat, a "Lebanonisation" of the conflict.
    Remembering Israel's own disastrous Lebanon War, the head of Israel's parliamentary opposition Yossi Sarid wrote in the Maariv daily: "The governments of Israel know how to start a war. They have never known how to extricate themselves".
    Fishman himself finds hope in his assessment that "this government has never stood by its decisions for long, and may not keep this one either," especially as it has to bear in mind US strategic interests.
    And the debate is not over.
    "Do what you want, dream your dreams," the dovish Foreign minister Shimon Peres was quoted as telling his colleagues.
    "In the end you'll understand that we need to talk and talk with the Palestinian Authority."

    Friday, 19 October, 2001, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK

    Funeral of Palestinian militia leader Abayat
    Abayat was killed in a car explosion on Thursday

    Casualties have been mounting in the Palestinian Territories in a day of high tension after Israeli forces entered the West Bank towns of Bethlehem and Beit Jala.
    Four Palestinians, including a woman and a policeman, were reported killed and least 16 injured in exchanges of fire in the West Bank, while the Israeli army said a soldier was seriously wounded by a sniper.

    The funeral of assassinated minister Rehavam Zeevi
    Hundreds attended Rehavam Zeevi's funeral on Thursday
    Hospital sources in Gaza said that a Palestinian had died of gunshot wounds to the head following clashes at the Karni crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip. A boy was earlier killed when an Israeli tank shell he picked up exploded.
    The killings occurred as thousands of mourners joined the funeral processions of three Palestinians - including local militia leader Atef Abayat - who died when their car exploded near Bethlehem.
    The Associated Press quoted Kamel Hamad, a colleague of Mr Abayat, as telling the crowd that Palestinians would continue their struggle "as long as there is one soldier or one settler in our land".
    The BBC's Barbara Plett says the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, appears to be putting the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, under increasing pressure - possibly with the aim of toppling him from power.
    Israel sent tanks and bulldozers into Bethlehem and Beit Jala on Friday morning, dismissing appeals from Washington for restraint.
    Tanks started rolling into the two West Bank towns after Palestinian gunmen attacked Gilo, a Jewish neighbourhood on occupied land, in response to the killing of Mr Abayat in a car explosion on Thursday.
    Violence has been escalating in the region since Palestinian militants killed the Israeli Tourism Minister, Rehavam Zeevi, in a Jerusalem hotel two days ago.
    US pressure
    The Palestinian Authority has arrested several suspects in connection with the assassination, but rejected Israel's demand to hand them over.

    Israeli tank in Bethlehem
    Israeli tanks have taken up position in Bethlehem and Beit Jala
    In an increasing war of words, the Palestinians have accused the Israeli Government of returning to violence and providing more excuses for international terrorism.
    The death of Mr Abayat, the Bethlehem military leader of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, came just after Israel had promised retribution for Mr Zeevi's assassination.
    Our correspondent says that while officially the army suggests he was killed by his own bomb, privately Israeli security sources say he had been targeted by Israel.
    Israel has renewed its policy of tracking and killing militants on its most wanted list, saying it is forced to do so because Mr Arafat does not arrest them.
    Call for restraint
    The US State Department, which is attempting to hold together a coalition for its war on terrorism that contains many Middle East states hostile to Israel, had called on the Israelis to exercise restraint following the assassination of Mr Zeevi.
    Mr Zeevi, a highly controversial hardliner and the first elected official to be killed by Palestinians since the creation of the Jewish state, was buried in an emotional ceremony on Thursday.
    US spokesman Philip Reeker had said that an overreaction by Israel to Mr Zeevi's killing would let terrorists derail recent steps toward peace with the Palestinians.

    Monday, 22 October, 2001, 22:53 GMT 23:53 UK

    Palestinian gunmen in Bethlehem
    Fatah has threatened a "rain of bullets" on Gilo 

    Barbara Plett
    It was a cold dark night: the group of middle-aged men sitting in plastic chairs on the street kerb huddled into their coats for warmth.
    What on earth are they doing, I wondered, stopping the car and rolling down the window.

    These men had sat up until one o'clock in the morning for several weeks to discourage any adventurers challenging the truce
    It was the beginning of October, we were checking out the ceasefire in Bethlehem and its sister villages, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour.
    The order to stop shooting had come several weeks earlier from the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, fearful of getting on the wrong side of the new US-led coalition against terrorism.
    Bethlehem and its area were one of the crucial intifada battle fronts.
    From here, Palestinian gunmen had regularly opened fire on Gilo, a community at the edge of Jerusalem built on occupied land.
    Peace line
    It was quiet now, and the men on the street kerb were a sort of neighbourhood watch, as it turned out.
    They were fed up with the militants who shot from among their houses, and brought return Israeli tank fire while their families huddled on the floor.

    Yasser Arafat
    Mr Arafat's personal authority can still win obedience

    Backed now by Mr Arafat's orders, these men had sat up until one o'clock in the morning for several weeks to discourage any adventurers challenging the truce.
    Together with Palestinian security forces, the civilians held the line.
    Absolutely essential was co-operation from Atef Abayat, the Fatah military commander in Bethlehem.
    Fatah is a faction headed by Yasser Arafat. It is not so much an organised party as a loose political movement attached to clans, families and refugee camps.
    These local allegiances have tended to become stronger than loyalty to the larger group during the year-long uprising.
    But Mr Arafat's personal authority can still win obedience.
    Peace shattered
    Such was the fragile calm that finally exploded several days ago.
    It was actually a new white jeep belonging to Atef Abayat that blew up.

    Palestinians mourn over the body of Atef Abayat
    The death of Abayat marked the end of a calm period

    Palestinian sources say the militia leader got the vehicle as a gift from a car dealer.
    Apparently the seats were stuffed with explosives. Whatever triggered them also triggered the central locking system, trapping Abayat and two companions inside.
    Privately Israeli security forces admitted they were responsible, although no-one has said so publicly.
    This was too much for local Fatah militants, most of them part of the powerful Abayat clan.
    They turned their guns on Gilo again and, shortly afterward, Israeli tanks moved into Bethlehem.
    Of course, this is only a small part of the big picture.
    The Israelis are responding to the recent assassination of their tourism minister by reoccupying parts of Palestinian towns and targeting militants on their wanted list.

    Although that war has actually fragmented Palestinian society, Mr Arafat still appears to be the only one who can hold the pieces together

    They say the plan is to stay only as long as it takes to dismantle what they call terrorist organisations, since Yasser Arafat refuses to do so.
    Newspaper commentators have concluded that the plan is to destroy the Palestinian Authority and expel Yasser Arafat from the territories.
    There is no question that the Palestinian leader has completely lost the trust of every sector of Israeli society over the past year after at least four failed ceasefires.
    The intifada, though, is not Mr Arafat's personal project.
    There is much to suggest that he faces the collective will of his people, who see it as their war of independence.
    Although that war has actually fragmented Palestinian society, Mr Arafat still appears to be the only one who can hold the pieces together.
    And it is not only members of the neighbourhood watch who are at risk as they are forced to turn from protecting the community to helping their families dodge bullets.
    The Israelis, too, push at these fault lines at their peril.

    Tuesday, 23 October, 2001, 18:37 GMT 19:37 UK

    Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres (L) and US Secretary of State Colin Powell
    Mr Peres told Mr Powell Israel knew Zeevi's killers

    The Israeli Government has said it will not withdraw troops from six West Bank towns until militants who killed a Cabinet minister last week are handed over.
    Foreign Minister Shimon Peres told the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, in Washington that his country had no choice but to stay in the towns occupied last week.

    This is a fateful moment for Arafat, for Israel and for the United States
    Sandy Berger, former US national security adviser

    But Mr Powell repeated the US demand for an immediate withdrawal, a position President George W Bush is expected to reiterate personally when he drops in on a meeting between Mr Peres and US national security adviser Condoleezza Rice later on Tuesday.
    In the territories themselves, two Palestinians were killed in an Israeli tank attack on Tuesday.
    "We don't intend to remain," Mr Peres said after his talks with Mr Powell. "We are not trying to occupy or control the Palestinians."
    But, he added, there could be no withdrawal until the killers of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi were arrested and extradited to Israel for trial.
    "The secretary understands that," the Israeli foreign minister said.
    A spokesman for Mr Powell, Richard Boucher, said that the Israeli military presence contributed to "an escalation of violence".
    Arafat under pressure
    Another Israeli minister, Danny Naveh, said Israel's use of troops to fight its enemies was as justified as Washington's in Afghanistan.
    "For us, the fight has sprung up just a few miles from Israeli cities," he said.

    Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat after talks with Luxembourg Foreign Minister Lydie Polfer
    Mr Arafat has been meeting EU envoys
    The BBC's Paul Anderson in Jerusalem says Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat cannot realistically meet the Israeli demand to hand over the suspected killers of Zeevi.
    Mr Arafat would be "signing his own death warrant if he surrendered his own people to Israeli justice", our correspondent says.
    Under US pressure to rein in militants, Mr Arafat has outlawed the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the group that has claimed responsibility for the Zeevi killing, but Palestinian officials have ruled out any extraditions.
    New deaths
    An Israeli tank opened fire near the town of Tulkarem on Tuesday, killing two Palestinians. The Israeli army said it had been fired upon.
    At least 30 Palestinians and one Israeli have been killed since the assassination of the Israeli tourism minister on 17 October.

    Palestinian gunmen in Bethlehem
    Gun battles rage in the West Bank, especially by night

    On the same day as thousands of Palestinians attended the funeral in Nablus of senior Hamas bomb-maker Ayman Halaweh, believed assassinated by Israel, an Israeli army bulldozer team demolished the house of a suicide bomber in Qalquiliya.
    The bomber, Said Hotari, was responsible for the deaths of 22 young Israelis at a Tel Aviv disco in June.
    Amid the violence, the EU's top foreign envoy, Javier Solana, continued his own negotiations with Israeli and Palestinian officials.
    Speaking before talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, he said that "tanks in the streets" did not help.
    But, he added, "it is also very difficult for the Israelis to see one of their ministers killed, assassinated, and the perpetrators not found".

    Wednesday, 24 October, 2001, 17:00 GMT 18:00 UK

    Child takes part in Islamic Jihad show honouring suicide bombers in Gaza City
    War is being drilled into a new generation

    Nick Childs
    The latest violence deals another blow to hopes of reviving Middle East peace diplomacy.
    It will also fuel concerns in Washington about the support of Arab and Muslim states for the US military campaign in Afghanistan.

    The problem is that there is no common ground between the parties... and outside pressure has been unable to bridge the gap

    There have been undiplomatically blunt calls from Washington, from President George W Bush downwards, for an early Israeli pullout from Palestinian-controlled territories.
    In public at least, Israeli ministers have been equally blunt in rejecting such calls.
    Israel insists the onus is on the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, to curb Palestinian violence.
    And Mr Bush did, indeed, couple his call to Israel with renewed pressure on Mr Arafat.
    Poles apart
    Privately, there have been hints in Israel that the army could pull back, perhaps by the weekend.
    There is concern among American and Israeli officials about the strains being placed on their bilateral relationship by the violence and the US campaign against terror.

    Israeli patrol in Beit Rima, where Palestinian fighters were shot dead on Tuesday night
    Israel says it has no choice but to occupy Palestinian towns 

    But there is also uncertainty about how to keep a lid on tensions, even if the present bloodshed can be brought under control.

    Parallels are being drawn with the Northern Ireland peace process, and the lesson that there needs to be a political framework to curb the violence.
    But In the Middle East there already is a political framework - the Tenet ceasefire proposals and the Mitchell proposals for confidence-building and political dialogue.
    The problem is that there is no common ground between the parties, despite tentative contacts, on how to return to the path of peace, and outside pressure has been unable to bridge the gap.

    Thursday, 25 October, 2001, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK

    An Israeli tank in the West Bank town of Ramallah
    Israel's tanks have jangled nerves with its main ally

    New tensions between Israel and the US arose this week as Israeli troops moved into Palestinian areas of the West Bank and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared that there was no US pressure on Israel.

    They decided to vent all their rage at Israel
    Hatzofe newspaper

    The Jerusalem Post said that Washington's demand for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces was "as unprecedented as it was undiplomatic" and the incident brought sharp reaction in the Israeli press as a whole.
    Hatzofe, the mouthpiece of the right-wing National Religious Party, saw the US as a bully, lashing out at Israel amid frustrations over its war on terrorism.
    "Three weeks of war in Afghanistan but there are no results in sight," its editorial said.
    "In the middle of all this, Sharon comes out with an annoying statement... [and] they decided to vent all their rage at Israel."
    Sympathy for America
    The independent, centrist Yediot Aharonot said the Americans had first tried to "whisper in the ear" of Sharon, but after the incursions they had "despaired of the personal approach".
    "In America, you first take people to the side and explain things to them quietly," it wrote.
    "If they fail to understand, you humiliate them loudly and publicly."

    They have suffered 6,000 fatalities. They have Anthrax... Sharon is the last thing they need right now
    Yediot Aharonot daily

    After 6,000 or so fatalities, anthrax, a suffering economy and the Taleban, Sharon is "the last thing they need right now", the paper said.
    The centrist tabloid Maariv also criticized Mr Sharon for not getting the message.
    "The United States wants Israel to keep aside, be quiet and not stand in the way of the US effort," its editorial said.
    "This would seem to be a simple wish, and the only person who apparently is having trouble getting it is Prime Minister Ariel Sharon."
    Double standards
    But the English-language Jerusalem Post saw justification in the hard line of Mr Sharon, a former defence minister.
    "Arafat... harbours terrorists, just as the Taleban does," it said.

    "This simple, incontrovertible truth might be a matter of political inconvenience for the Bush administration at this time, but for Israel it is a matter of life and death."
    "For the US to expect Israel to stop defending itself just to appease the Arab and Islamic members of the anti-terror coalition is simply to expect too much," the right-of-centre paper concluded.

    Can anyone imagine how the world would react had an Israeli tank hit a Palestinian hospital?
    Bene Beraq Yated Ne'eman

    The ultra-Orthodox Bene Beraq Yated Ne'eman saw a double standard in the US stance.
    "Can anyone imagine how the world would react had an Israeli tank hit a Palestinian hospital?" it asked, referring to Taleban reports that the US strikes had destroyed a hospital.
    But Yediot Aharonot felt that Israel should temporarily put its worries aside.
    "The single supreme consideration of the Israeli foreign and defence ministries should be how to minimize any potential damage to the American war effort," the paper declared.
    BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

    Thursday, 25 October, 2001, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK

    Israeli solder trains his sights on Palestinian position
    Israel is under pressure to pull out of Palestinian towns

    Frank Gardner
    As Muslim condemnation of US air strikes on Afghanistan continues, Arabs are not forgetting their prime grievance: Israel's occupation of Palestinian land.
    Israel's tough response to the recent killing of its tourism minister by Palestinians has prompted fresh calls by Arab governments for Western intervention.

    There is no justification for hitting Afghanistan under the slogan of justice while Israeli 'terrorism' is all over Palestine
    Egyptian newspaper editorial
    They want the Palestinian issue solved - not in 10 years' time, but now.
    On Thursday, Syria's government-controlled press called on the United Nations Security Council to condemn Israel's military incursion into the West Bank and to force Israel to withdraw from Arab land.
    Egypt's Foreign Minister, Ahmed Maher, has also appealed to the world, especially the West, to take a stand against what he calls "Israel's insolent defiance of its commitments and agreements".
    In the Gulf, papers railed against Israel's killing of Palestinians.
    "What is currently happening in the Palestinian territories cannot pass in silence... what Israel is doing is state terrorism," the official Emirates paper Al-Bayan said on Thursday.
    So far nothing new there.

    Call for US intervention

    But the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and America's subsequent need for a global coalition against terror, have also raised fresh hopes amongst Arabs of a more even-handed American approach.
    An editorial on Thursday in Egypt's widely respected newspaper Al-Ahram says that now is the best time for the US to intervene in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

    A Palestinian boy plays on the ruins of a house destroyed by Israeli soldiers
    Arab media routinely accuse Israel of war crimes against the Palestinians

    It says President George W Bush has a full mandate to act, without having to worry about the Jewish lobby in Washington.
    "There is no justification for hitting Afghanistan under the slogan of justice while Israeli 'terrorism' is all over Palestine," the editorial says, in a view shared by much of the Arab world.
    Egypt's newspapers compete with each other daily to lambaste Israel.
    The previous Israeli ambassador to Cairo complained earlier this year that each day he would count up to 60 examples of what he called "anti-Israeli propaganda" in the local press.
    'Strategy of reoccupation'
    But amidst all the rhetoric and slogans, the Arab press often contains some incisive comments.
    The pro-government Egyptian paper Al-Akhbar said on Thursday that America and the world should understand that Israeli aggression generates frustration and despair that only finds an outlet in violence to fulfil the desire for revenge.
    The Jeddah-based Saudi newspaper Arab News carried a special article on Thursday entitled "Sharon's strategy of reoccupation".

    Israeli patrol in Beit Rima, where Palestinian fighters were shot dead on Tuesday night
    Israel says it needs to occupy Palestinian towns for security reasons
    Despite Israel's insistence that it does not want to permanently reoccupy Palestinian-controlled areas, the article maintains that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has embarked on a three-pronged strategy.
    The article's author, Fawaz Turki, says the first goal is to undermine the legitimacy of the Palestinian leadership by portraying them as "terrorists".
    The second, says Turki, is to create conditions not conducive to peace talks by taking the war into the Palestinian heartland.
    And finally, says the article, Mr Sharon wants to impose deadlines on the Palestinians which he knows they cannot meet, allowing him to say that he has tried to pursue peace and failed.
    Solution cannot wait
    And in London, another Saudi-owned newspaper, Al-Hayat, adds a note of urgency to the need to restart peace talks.
    In an article on Thursday entitled "Postponement is not realistic", the paper says it is unreasonable for Washington to think that Arabs will be satisfied with President Bush's verbal promise of a Palestinian state.
    It says Arabs cannot wait for America to finish its war in Afghanistan, which could last a whole year.
    Al-Hayat concludes by calling for more Arab pressure on Washington to settle the issue of a Palestinian state once and for all.

    Wednesday, 7 November, 2001, 03:46 GMT

    Palestinian security men re-taking control in Ramallah
    Palestinian troops re-entered where the Israelis had left

    Israeli forces have continued a staggered withdrawal from autonomous Palestinian towns in the West Bank, pulling out of the commercial and political centre Ramallah after an incursion of almost three weeks.
    The withdrawal followed a day violence elsewhere in the West Bank which left six people dead - five Palestinians and an Israeli soldier.

    Ramallah resident holds placade after Israeli withdrawal
    A Ramallah resident makes her feelings clear
    Israel's defence ministry says it will maintain a security blockade around Ramallah - the seat of Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority in the West Bank - after the withdrawal.
    Israel has already pulled out of three towns - Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Qalqilya - in the past week, following intense pressure from the US.
    There are no published plans to withdraw from Jenin and Tulkarm yet. All the invasions occurred after last month's killing of an Israeli cabinet minister by Palestinian militants.
    The defence ministry statement said that while withdrawing from central Ramallah the army "reserves the right to act freely and to continue to launch all necessary operations... to foil attacks".
    Israeli troops and tanks started moving shortly after midnight on Wednesday, according to a senior Palestinian officier charged with liaising with Israel.
    Six dead
    Two Palestinian activists died earlier on Tuesday after an explosion hit their car in the West Bank town of Jenin.

    The two men were named as Ikrima Isteidi and Majdi Jaradat, members of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction.
    Isteidi was wanted by Israel, according to acting governor of Jenin, Haider Irshad.
    In another incident, three Palestinian gunmen and an Israeli soldier were killed in an exchange of fire near Nablus.
    An Israeli field commander in the area, Colonel Yossi Adiri, said that the Palestinians opened fire, killing the Israeli soldier, and that the three Palestinians died in the subsequent exchange.
    But a Red Crescent official in Nablus, Dr Mohammad Awadeh, called one of the killings "a pure execution".
    US pressure
    Palestinian and Israeli security officials have been meeting to coordinate Israel's withdrawal from the six Palestinian-controlled towns it occupied after the assassination of its tourism minister, Rehavam Zeevi, on 17 October.

    Medics inspect bodies of dead Palestinians near Nablus
    The events around Tuesday's shooting deaths are disputed
    The US, concerned that regional instability could jeopardise its anti-Taleban coalition, has put pressure on both sides to stop the violence.
    Israel's dovish Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has been working with the hawkish Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, on a new Middle East peace plan.
    But speaking in Paris on Tuesday evening, Mr Peres sounded impatient.
    "Neither the country nor we ourselves have a lot of time. We have to make progress," he said.
    Israeli media reported that the plan called for the establishment of a demilitarised Palestinian state buffered by Israeli-controlled security zones in the West Bank.
    According to the liberal daily Haaretz, a Palestinian state would be created in stages, with the Gaza Strip, most of which is under Palestinian control, serving as a model.
    A Palestinian official dismissed the plan.
    "Serious talks with the Israelis will resume once we hear them talking about Palestinian rights and a withdrawal from the territories," said Ahmed Abdel-Rahman, a senior aide to Mr Arafat.

    Thursday, 15 November, 2001, 22:14 GMT
    Israeli president's letter to Palestinians

    Moshe Katsav
    The Israeli president in a new peace drive

    Palestinian radio reported on Thursday that it received a faxed message from Israeli President Moshe Katsav calling on the Palestinians to begin serious dialogue that will lead to real peace, security and coexistence.
    Entitled "A Call to the Palestinians on the Advent of Ramadan", the message was written in Hebrew with an Arabic translation attached.
    The radio said it was the first message by an Israeli president to an official Palestinian establishment since the Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territories in 1994.
    The message
    Following is the text of the statement as communicated by the president's spokesperson and released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
    "On the occasion of the commencement of the Ramadan fast, I am - on behalf of the Israeli people - happy to send heartfelt greetings and wishes for a blessed and festive holiday to all peace-loving Muslims in the Arab world, to all Muslims in Israel and to all Muslims in the Palestinian Authority.

    We want peaceful coexistence. We want both of us to enjoy a quiet life of peace, freedom and prosperity.
    Israeli President Moshe Katsav

    "I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to our Palestinian neighbours, both the leadership and the public, to put out the fire so that we may begin a serious and basic dialogue that will lead us to genuine peace and security.
    "We want peaceful coexistence. We want both of us to enjoy a quiet life of peace, freedom and prosperity.
    "The leadership that you have chosen is our address for negotiations. We respect and esteem the Palestinian leadership.
    "We respect and esteem the Islamic holy places; we will do our utmost to safeguard the sanctity of the Islamic holy places and will not allow anyone to even inflict even the slightest injury to them, especially the sacred mosques on the Temple Mount.
    "Muslims will continue to enjoy complete freedom of worship; for us, this is a sacred principle.
    "The Jewish people have suffered over the centuries and were unable to exercise freedom of worship; for this reason, we will not agree to any infringement on the right of others to worship freely.
    "The way of bloodshed will lead us to disasters, destruction and ruin, and will bring us neither benefits nor hope.
    "The time has come to put an end to suffering by halting the bloodshed and beginning responsible and honourable diplomatic negotiations that will lead to peace, stability, social welfare and prosperity for the peoples of the region and a promising future for the younger generation.
    "I also believe that the God we all worship expects that our prayers for peace will be both sincere and put into practice."
    BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

    Wednesday, 28 November, 2001, 05:53 GMT
    Israeli police remove the body of one of the gunmen
    The gunmen came from the West Bank town of Jenin

    The Palestinian Authority has condemned the killing of three Israelis by Palestinian gunmen, as US envoys began a mission to try to arrange a truce between the two sides.
    Two Israelis died and scores were injured when gunmen opened fire in the northern Israeli town of Afula, and an Israeli woman died hours later when Palestinian militants attacked a bus near a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip.

    This murderous terrorist act is the Palestinian welcome for [US envoys] General Zinni and Assistant Secretary of State William Burns
    Avi Pazner
    Israeli Government spokesman on Afula attack

    The killings came as the US envoys - Anthony Zinni and Assistant Secretary of State William Burns - held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. They are due to meet the Palestinian leadership on Wednesday.
    General Zinni said the killings showed the importance of reaching a ceasefire.
    In a statement, the Palestinian Authority said it "strongly condemns the two attacks... which targeted Israeli civilians," while Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said the "PLO will deploy a 100 percent effort to consolidate the ceasefire [with Israel]".
    'Pressure Arafat'
    The BBC's Kylie Morris in Jerusalem says that when the Palestinian delegation meets the Americans, it is expected to emphasise three points - an end to occupation, the establishment of a Palestinian state and a freeze on Israeli settlements.

    Ariel Sharon (left) and General Anthony Zinni
    The US envoys saw the scene of the attack in Afula from their helicopter
    Israel, for its part, has called on the envoys to put pressure on Mr Arafat to crack down on Palestinian militants.
    "We don't see a change in Arafat's strategy of violence and terror. If you [US envoys] can successfully change his tactics, it would be a great accomplishment," said a statement from Israeli's defence ministry.
    The attack in Afula took place as Mr Sharon took the envoys on a helicopter tour of the West Bank to demonstrate Israel's security concerns.
    The helicopter hovered over the scene of the shootings as ambulances took the wounded to hospital.
    Minutes earlier, two men opened fire in the centre of the town, spraying bullets into a bus station and a nearby market.
    A bystander, Mordechai Cohen, told Israel radio that "terrorists in civilian dress appeared and started to fire".
    "They shot the first person in the head. He fell down, they ran toward the market."
    Police shot and killed both attackers.

    Palestinian militant groups Islamic Jihad and al-Aqsa Brigades said their members had carried out the attack in revenge for the killing of a leader of the military wing of the radical Islamic Hamas movement by Israel last Friday.
    The gunmen came from a refugee camp in the Palestinian-controlled town of Jenin on the West Bank, about 15 km (10 miles) from Afula.
    The two attacks came hours after Israeli troops pulled out of Jenin, the last of six Palestinian towns occupied by Israeli forces following the assassination of an Israeli minister last month.
    A spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry said the withdrawal was a gesture of goodwill to coincide with the arrival in Israel of the US envoys.
    Their mission follows last week's speech by the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, in which he spelled out Washington's vision for the Middle East.
    The United States has said General Zinni will stay in the region for as long as it takes to bring an end to 14 months of fighting in which nearly 1,000 people - mainly Palestinians - have been killed.

    Thursday, 29 November, 2001, 22:09 GMT
    Israeli bus wreckage
    At least four people have been killed in the blast

    A bomb explosion on a bus in northern Israel has left at least four people dead including the suicide bomber responsible for the attack.

    There was nothing left of the bus
    The bus was travelling on a motorway between the northern coastal town of Hadera and the city of Afula when the blast occurred, witnesses said. The bus was near an Israeli military base.
    A man who was driving along the same route told Israel radio that he heard an "enormous explosion" as a bomb had "apparently blown up inside the vehicle".

    "The bomb was inside the bus. We are checking but there is a high probability that it was a suicide bomber," northern police commander Yakov Borovsky told Israeli Channel One television.
    At least six people are reported to have been wounded in the explosion, which completely destroyed the bus.
    Reports say the bomber - a well dressed man who boarded the bus in the Israeli Arab village of Umm Fahm - had ridden calmly on the bus for 10 minutes before he detonated the powerful bomb.
    The bus was not crowded at the time of the blast otherwise the casualty figure would have been much higher.
    Afula was the scene of a shooting on Tuesday when Palestinian gunmen opened fire in the town killing three Israelis.
    Peace mission
    The latest attack comes on the fourth day of a mission to the region by US envoys who are hoping to secure a ceasefire and implement a peace deal.
    Correspondents say the blast can only further complicate what is already an ambitious task.
    Israeli government spokesman Avi Pazner said the attack showed the Palestinian Authority was trying to undermine the peace mission by "doing nothing to stop terrorism".
    But the Palestinian Authority said in a statement it "condemns the attack on Israeli civilians...and reaffirms that it is working in its full capacity to put an end to all sorts of attacks against Israeli civilians".
    US peace envoy Anthony Zinni "strongly condemned" the attack, saying in a statement that the "vicious terror attacks must stop".
    Earlier on Thursday, two Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli troops at a roadblock in the West Bank, not far from the site of the bus attack.

    Thursday, 6 December, 2001, 06:11 GMT
    Hamas beats off Arafat forces
    Hamas supporters gather outside Sheikh Yassin's home

    Hundreds of supporters of the Palestinian militant group Hamas have been protecting the house of their leader since successfully defeating a bid by Palestinian security forces to place him under house arrest.

    Sheikh Ahmed Yassin
    The Hamas leader has been under Palestinian house arrest in the past
    Hamas gunmen and security forces exchanged fire outside Sheikh Ahmed Yassin's Gaza City home before the security forces retreated late on Wednesday evening.
    Hamas has said it carried out the suicide bomb attacks on Israelis at the weekend which killed 25 people.
    The arrest attempt came as Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat asked for more time from Israel, which has suspended its retaliatory air strikes, to clamp down on militants.

    We are all angry at the corrupt Palestinian leadership
    Hamas supporter
    Supporters poured into the streets of Gaza when an alert was raised on loudspeakers at a nearby mosque.
    They came to the home of Hamas's 62-year-old spiritual leader, who is paralysed and virtually blind, by car and on foot from across the city.
    "We are all angry at the corrupt Palestinian leadership," one Hamas supporter said, and accused the Palestinian police of trying to provoke a "civil war".
    A Palestinian official said that the arrest order had been issued because of the Hamas figure's recent "statements against the Palestinian Authority".

    Plea for time

    Palestinian security forces reportedly arrested a number of suspected militants elsewhere on Wednesday, and Mr Arafat said a total of 151 suspected militants had been picked up in recent days.
    The Palestinian leader has called on Israel to give him some breathing space to crack down on the militants and Israel suspended its heavy bombardment of the territories which began after the weekend suicide attacks.
    "They have to cool down to give me the chance," Mr Arafat told ABC television.

    They have to cool down to give me the chance
    Yasser Arafat

    But with another suicide bomber striking in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning, killing himself and lightly injuring three Israelis, some Israeli officials have poured scorn on Mr Arafat's declared efforts.
    "Real arrests have yet to be made," Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said.

    Hamas members
    Militants say the violence will continue
    Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, who spoke to Mr Arafat on the telephone, said he supported a pause in the Israeli air strikes but Mr Arafat had to prove he was serious.
    "He can restore credibility by making the necessary arrests of people who are really producing terror," he said.
    Mr Peres gave the Palestinian leader a list of 36 suspected militant leaders whom he said should be arrested and said there should be a 12-hour "quiet period".
    Our correspondent says the latest incident will reinforce Israeli scepticism about Mr Arafat's seriousness in rounding up militants.
    US peace envoy Anthony Zinni is due to meet both Mr Peres and Mr Arafat on Thursday.
    Hamas targeted

    The radical Palestinian group Islamic Jihad said it carried out Wednesday's bomb attack outside a hotel in central Jerusalem.
    It took place in a busy commercial area, but most office workers were still on their way to work when the explosion occurred.
    Islamic Jihad said the bomber had tried to cause "numerous victims among the Zionists".
    Mr Arafat has urged all groups to stand by the ceasefire to which the Palestinians officially remain committed, despite the ongoing violence.
    US President George W Bush has labelled Hamas one of the deadliest terror organisations in the world today, and called on Mr Arafat to "root out those who killed".

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