Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


West Bank fighting continues, despite Powell mission

NABLUS, West Bank (REUTERS) — The Israeli army battled gunmen in the West Bank towns of Jenin and Nablus on the 11th day of a sweep which has killed at least 200 Palestinians and looks unlikely to end before a U.S. peace mission.

Echoing repeated demands by President Bush, the U.N. Security Council again called on Israel Sunday to withdraw its troops from West Bank cities “without delay.”

Envoys from the 15 member nations, in their sixth meeting in 10 days, called for a cease-fire and said they were “deeply disturbed” by the failure to carry out three resolutions approved over the past month on the crisis.

“The continuation of violence by the power in control of the events on the ground is unacceptable,” said a statement read by Ambassador Sergei Lavrov of Russia, this month’s council president.

A senior Israeli army officer said earlier Israel could not achieve its goal of crushing what it calls a Palestinian “terrorist infrastructure” by the end of the week, when Secretary of State Colin Powell arrives seeking a cease-fire.

Powell left the United States late Sunday and was expected to meet Arab and European leaders before heading to Jerusalem.

Israel is widely expected to continue its offensive until Powell’s arrival, and Palestinians fear this means intensified military assaults over the next few days.

“It is regrettable that Secretary of State Colin Powell has delayed his arrival in Palestine until next Friday, which will be used by [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon to pursue his military plan,” the official Palestinian news agency, WAFA, quoted an unnamed spokesman as saying.

Israeli forces fired missiles and tank shells at Jenin as part of a campaign Israel says is intended to halt attacks launched from Palestinian-ruled towns it brands as “breeding grounds for terrorism.”

In the early hours Monday, CNN television, quoting sources within the camp, said the Israeli army fired at least 18 missiles from helicopter gunships into the Jenin refugee camp. The reports could not be immediately confirmed. CNN said there had been no comment from the army.

Earlier, as the army advanced toward the camp, it issued a second call for gunmen to surrender, saying they would be treated fairly if they gave themselves up.

Israeli Army Radio said “dozens” heeded the call, but gunmen at the scene told Reuters they would never give up.

The army said that since March 28, it had detained 1,413 Palestinians, among them 361 on its wanted list.

The army, whose casualties are also rising, said it had killed more than 30 armed Palestinians in close combat since Friday in Nablus. Palestinian witnesses and medics said 12 Palestinians died in Nablus in some of the heaviest fighting since Palestinians rose up against Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip more than 18 months ago.

Palestinians say the offensive, in which their president, Yasser Arafat, has been surrounded in his West Bank headquarters, is designed to reoccupy their cities permanently and topple his Palestinian Authority.

The onslaught has caused uproar abroad. Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Pique, whose country holds the European Union’s presidency, said the 15-member group would consider imposing sanctions on Israel if it kept rejecting cease-fire calls.

In Ottawa, Canada, around 2,000 pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched to denounce Israel. One group carried a man pretending to be a corpse, wrapped in a Palestinian flag.

Israel faced new violence near its northern border with Lebanon. Hizbollah guerrillas attacked Israeli troops occupying the foothills of the Golan Heights and Israel responded by firing artillery and rockets at positions in south Lebanon.

An Israeli security source said residents of two nearby border communities, Menara and Avivim, were ordered into bomb shelters after Hizbollah gunmen fired at army guard posts there, wounding seven soldiers.
The Israeli government has expressed concern that such clashes could open a new war front. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres’s office said he had called Powell to ask for U.S. intervention to prevent a flare-up with Lebanon and Syria.

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