Arafat: We prevented attacks on Israel

Palestinian Authority President Yasir Arafat has said his government helped prevent revenge attacks on Israel for the killings of two resistance leaders.

    The Palestinian president has also called for renewed talks

    In an interview with Israel's Channel 10 on Sunday, Arafat was asked why Islamist groups had not carried out the attacks they threatened after Tel Aviv ordered the assassinations of Hamas leaders Shaikh Ahmad Yasin and Abd Al-Aziz al-Rantisi in March and April.
       
    "It is thanks to the Palestinian Authority, efforts by Egypt and the efforts of the Quartet" of the US, UN, EU and Russia, Arafat replied.
       
    Despite the president's comment, Israel has repeatedly accused Arafat of being behind attacks on its civilians since a Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation erupted in September 2000.

    Both Israeli and Palestinian authorities claim they have foiled a number of attacks in the past two months.

    Peace talks offer

    Palestinian officials have said they arrested 11 suspected resistance group members recently who are jailed in the West Bank town of Jericho.
       
    The Israeli army says it has foiled 25 bomb plots since April.

    Occupation forces also launched a destructive raid against resistance groups this month, killing 42 Palestinians in southern Gaza's Rafah area - after 13 Israeli soldiers died in a string of ambushes.
       
    Arafat, who has been under Israeli siege in Ram Allah for more than two years, offered again to hold peace talks with Israel.

    "I extend my hand to Sharon, the Knesset and the Israeli government," he said.
       
    Asked whether he thought the uprising should be brought to an end, Arafat replied: "What is required is to end violence, whether on this side or that side."

    SOURCE: Reuters


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