Tags: Israel | Reconsiders | Attack | Gaza | Strip

Israel Reconsiders Attack on Gaza Strip

Sunday, 12 May 2002 12:00 AM

Israeli media Sunday reported that an impending attack had been called off. It was "cancelled for the time being," the army's radio station, Galei Tsahal, reported.

A source close to Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told United Press International, "We are re-examining the matter."

The army is to release some reservists called up in recent days under an emergency order, but combat units are still mobilized, a source said.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and top officials reportedly ordered the strike after a suicide bombing at an illegal billiards club in Rishon Le Ziyyon Tuesday killed 16 people, including the bomber. They said the attacker was from Gaza. But Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said Israelis do not know where the attacker came from.

Critics, including some generals and soldiers, argued the soldiers would face strong resistance in the teeming, crowded Gaza Strip. Casualties would be high on both sides, and terrorists Israel is trying to catch would all be gone, critics said.

The United States and Egypt pressed Israel not to strike. Egyptian leaders also relayed a Saudi Arabia request for restraint, according to Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

There was also concern that domestic and international pressure on Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to rein in terror would dissipate once Israelis tanks rumbled into the Gaza Strip.

Ben-Eliezer Sunday noted that international pressure already led Arafat to condemn the Rishon Le Ziyyon suicide bombing as "a terror attack."

Also on Sunday, a Palestinian worker shot and killed his employer in the southern Gaza Strip.

Nisan Dolinger, the employer, had been driving a Palestinian employee to work, said Dror Vanunu, a spokesman for Israeli settlers. Dolinger stopped at a military roadblock where the Palestinian drew a pistol and fired four shots at him. The employee was caught.

Meanwhile, Oussama Hamdan, a Hamas official in Lebanon, said Sunday his group would continue "martyrdom operations" as long as Israel continues to occupy Palestinian territories.

Hamdan spoke to a rally in the refugee camp of Ein el-Helweh near the port city of Sidon in south Lebanon to mark the 1948 partition of Palestine and the creation of Israel. Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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Israeli media Sunday reported that an impending attack had been called off. It was cancelled for the time being, the army's radio station, Galei Tsahal, reported. A source close to Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told United Press International, We are...
Israel,Reconsiders,Attack,Gaza,Strip
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2002-00-12
Sunday, 12 May 2002 12:00 AM
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