"Egyptian intelligence chief Gen. Omar Suleiman called on Yasser Arafat in Ramallah Tuesday, 6 February, with two warnings – one from the United States and one from Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon. Arafat was cautioned that if he launched a wave of terrorist attacks during Sharon’s absence, the Palestinians would find themselves confronting a whole new set of game rules.
Arafat smiled and promised every effort to keep the peace in the
interests of the Palestinian people.
Exactly 24 hours after Gen. Suleiman left – and one hour before Sharon boarded the plane for Washington – Arafat gave the signal for the first of a deadly series of terror strikes against Israeli civilians. Two Palestinians with bomb-belts strapped under their heavy clothes mounted a Jerusalem-Maale Adumim bus at the French Hill junction. Due to the bus driver’s vigilance, one was caught before he could detonate his bomb; the other escaped in the confusion.
At about the same time, 8 Qasem rockets and launchers were detected for the first time on the West Bank. They were concealed in a fruit truck intercepted by a roadblock on its way from Nablus for Jenin, from which Israeli towns are well within the 120mm rocket’s range.
then, after dark, two or more Palestinian gunmen burst into the Jordan Rift Valley moshav of Hamra, shooting wildly, breaking into a house and taking hostages. Israeli forces captured the house, killing one of the terrorists, but not before he murdered a mother and her two small children and injured four civilians. One soldier is also reported dead. The dead terrorist was found wearing a bomb belt.
Just before midnight, a second suicide bombing was foiled, when a police roadblock near the Israeli Arab town of Tirah stopped two Palestinians in a van. A search turned up a medium-sized explosive charge intended to blow up a target in an Israeli town.
Israeli security forces are on top terror alert. More terrorist attacks
against Israeli civilians are expected as Sharon’s Thursday appointment
with President Bush approaches. The Israeli prime minister’s ultimatum
to Arafat, the military arm of whose Fatah has claimed responsibility for
Wednesday’s attacks, will then be put to the test."