Israel: April 9, 2002

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While it was said at the time that the non-appearance of some Arab leaders at the Beirut summit was a political statement (protesting that Israel was stopping Arafat from coming), there seems to have been more to it. There were "particularly credible" threats of assassination attempts against Egyptian President Mubarak and Jordanian King Abdullah, and other credible threats against other Arab leaders. More over, Mubarak (who regards it as his job to broker a final peace deal with Israel) was very unhappy that the Saudis were intruding with a plan of their own.--Stephen V Cole

Israeli troops withdrew from two Palestinian towns, but entered another one. Still, that was enough for America to declare that it's demand for Israel to withdraw as being heeded. The Israeli anti-terrorist operation as resulted in 1500 Palestinians arrested, including over 500 men already wanted by Israel and some 70 who were known to be involved in terrorist operations. At least 200 Palestinians have been killed and some 1500 wounded so far. Despite protests from many foreign nations, the Israeli operation is very popular with Israelis. There have been no terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians since April 1st. This despite the Palestinians giving out suicide bomber equipment (belts of explosives) to any Palestinian willing to serve as a suicide bombers. Some of these people have detonated their bombs in Palestinian territory in an attempt to kill Israeli soldiers. Casualties among Israeli troops are 15 dead and some 160 wounded so far, even though most of the fighting is in built up areas (which usually results in heavy losses for the attacker.) This is largely because the Israelis are using well trained troops and have worked hard to develop more effective tactics for this kind of fighting. The Palestinians have few trained soldiers and lack the organization, discipline and better weapons and equipment of the Israelis. 

Israel has some 40,000 troops and police engaged in the anti-terrorism operations. 

Israeli troops have seized over 2000 rifles and found 15 workshops for making weapons and suicide bomber equipment. 

Hundreds of armed Palestinians have taken refuge among civilians (and, in one case, a Christian holy place) and vowed to fight to the death. The Israelis have been slow and methodical in their attacks in order to minimize civilian casualties.

On the Lebanese border, Hizbollah fired at least 12 rockets and mortar shells at Israeli positions in the Shebaa Farms area. Israel fired back, but Hizbollah fires most of their weapons from within civilian occupied areas, hoping the Israelis will either fire on them and cause civilian casualties, or, as the Israelis have done so far, firing adjacent to the Hizbollah firing positions.  These attacks have been taking place every day for a week.

 

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