Palestinians Refuse Gaza Strip/Bethlehem Offer


22 June 2003

New Palestinian leaders refuse to take over security responsibility in Gaza Strip and Bethlehem without Hamas and al Aqsa Brigades consent to ceasefire. In peace shuttle Friday, Powell failed to persuade Abu Mazen and Dahlan to accept Israel’s pullout offer. US presidential adviser Rice will continue mission next week.

In Gaza Strip, five mortar shells fired at Israeli location in Gush Katif Sunday after Palestinian Qassam rocket landed harmlessly in open field near Sderot and Palestinian shooting attack on Israeli troops on Karni-Netzarim road.

Wanted terrorist No. 1 in West Bank, Abdullah Kawasme, Hamas, killed in special operation in Hebron by Israeli Border Guards counter-terror unit Saturday night. Expert engineer of bus bombings, Kawasme’s last three hits massacred 40 Israelis, injured hundreds. In latest, 17 Israelis died, 100 were injured in June 12 suicide blast on Jerusalem 14 Bus.

Al Qaeda steps up threats to Americans and allies Saturday night. In message to Kuwaiti al Watan, Osama bin Laden promises deadly blow to “international media serpent that serves Americans”, also to “cut off wings of American eagle.”

After terror alert closes US Nairobi embassy, Kenya arrests 36 Somalis in city Saturday, halts flights to and from Somalia.