|May 29 — A resurgence
of suicide attacks has put Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon under growing
public pressure to launch a new operation against Palestinian militants.
The Israeli Cabinet
on Wednesday weighed its response to the latest attacks, which left six
Israelis dead, including three teen-agers at a Jewish settlement in the
U.S. is restarting its Mideast initiative by dispatching top envoys who
will focus on security and political issues.
WITH THE SURGE of bombings and shootings, Sharon was under growing pressure
from the public to take decisive action against Palestinian militants.
However, the Cabinet’s options appeared limited, and radio reports said
the ministers failed to reach a decision.
military offensive that wound down earlier this month weakened but did
not crush Palestinian militias, and the military’s follow-up actions —
almost daily, intelligence-driven raids and arrests of militant — have
failed to prevent terror attacks.
of a new U.S. Middle East initiative started emerging on Wednesday, with
the announcement that U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director George
Tenet would travel to to the region Friday. Tenet will join Assistant Secretary
of State William Burns, who arrived in Cairo on Wednesday at the start
of a Middle East tour.
of State Colin Powell said Tenet and Burns would “discuss how best to move
ahead on the president’s integrated three-part strategy.”
includes setting up an effective Palestinian security system, renewing
a political process “that aims at a two-state solution and brings hope
to Palestinians and Israelis alike” and “building strong, responsible Palestinian
Authority institutions in preparation for statehood,” Powell said.
will concentrate on security aspects and Burns on the political aspects
of the strategy, he said. They will return to Washington in time for Egyptian
President Hosni Mubarak’s visit next week, he said.
| BOARDING SCHOOL TARGETED
In an attack Tuesday night,
a Palestinian gunman shot and killed three Israeli teen-agers at an Orthodox
Jewish boarding school in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, near the
Palestinian city of Nablus. The victims were identified as Gilad Steinitz,
14; Avraham Siton, 17, and Netanel Riahi, 17.
The attacker died after the
settlement’s security officer and its junior high school principal Nitzan
Yamini, a reserve paratroop officer, shot him. Yamini told Israeli Army
Radio he had recently taken to sleeping with his M16 assault rifle next
to his bed.
Yamini said the gunman began
his shooting spree on the school’s basketball court. “There were at least
six students on the court. He hit three and three managed to run away,”
he said. “Then he went straight for the dormitories.”
“I charged the terrorist,”
Yamini said. “I shot him in the head.”
There was no claim of responsibility,
but Israeli government spokesman Dore Gold blamed the Al Aqsa Martyrs’
Brigade, a militia linked to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement,
for the Itamar attack.
The militia carried out two
attacks earlier in the week — a suicide bombing Monday that killed an Israeli
woman and her 18-month-old granddaughter, and a West Bank shooting ambush
that killed an Israeli motorist Tuesday.
“Israeli teen-agers, grandmothers,
even Israeli infants, continue to be the primary targets of Mr. Arafat’s
Fatah organization in their campaign of terrorism against the people of
Israel,” Gold said.