Tags: Palestinians | Cheer | Attacks | Condemned | Arafat | Israel

Palestinians Cheer Attacks Condemned by Arafat, Israel

Tuesday, 11 September 2001 12:00 AM

Passengers in passing cars made the V-for-victory sign in satisfaction with the attacks of unprecedented magnitude that destroyed the soaring twin-towered World Trade Center in New York and set fire to the massive Pentagon military office building.

Arafat expressed condolences, from - he said - the Palestinian people to the American people, President Bush and the U.S. government.

"We totally condemn these serious and dangerous attacks," Arafat told newsmen in Gaza. "I was completely shocked. What happened is completely unbelievable."

A spokesman for Islamic Hamas, Abdel Aziz Ranteesi, said that his group was not standing behind the attacks and that he did not know who was guilty.

A senior leader of the radical Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine told United Press International that his group was in no way involved. Early but unsubstantiated reports had suggested DFLP was connected to the attack. Saleh Zeidan, member of the DFLP Central committee, said: "I totally deny our involvement in the attack. We did not do it, and we have no relation to it."

In another part of this city holy to Christianity, Judaism and Islam, Israeli President Moshe Katsav offered his condolences to Americans, saying, "Everything must be done to defeat this phenomenon in which insane people will stop at nothing to disrupt daily life."

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon expressed his condolences to U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel C. Kurtzer, offering any and all necessary assistance that Israel could render, his office reported.

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres added: "If we can give even a tiny little bit of help, we would do so willingly. We feel so close to the United States and its residents."

Peres said Tuesday's attacks in the United States prove that the classical armies do not suit the new situation. "Completely new armies are needed," he said.

The attacks show "that even if you have an army, a navy, tanks and cannons it does not answer this kind of warfare," Peres said.

"This is a war in which the enemies sail over borders, have no uniforms, no identity cards, no warnings, and there is a need for a completely different strategic and tactical deployment to suit the new situation," he said.

Peres called for "recruiting" to this joint effort not only the U.S. but also Europe, Russia, India, China, "all the responsible states, because there is a global danger."

He said some countries house "terror centers" and must be told to liquidate them or face "all the consequences."

Sharon said in a statement: "The fight against terror is an international struggle of the free world against the forces of darkness. Together, we can defeat the forces of darkness."

The Israeli government announced a day of mourning, put its national rescue team on alert for immediate departure to the United States, and was collecting blood for victims of Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Announcing its decision on a day of mourning today, Prime Minister Sharon told the American people: "Our hearts are with you. We bow our heads and share in the sorrow of the American people."

The Health Ministry and the Magen David Adom Blood Bank (Israel's equivalent of the Red Cross) asked people to donate O-type blood that would be flown out Wednesday. The call was issued late Tuesday night (local time), and about an hour later the director of Magen David Adom Blood Services, Eilat Shinar, told United Press International of "an unusual response."

The government also decided to dispatch the army's national rescue unit that has gained considerable experience in digging through the rubble of collapsed buildings, including the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, though nothing even close to the scale of Tuesday's disaster.

A small advance team was planning to leave Israel for the United States Tuesday night.

For its own security, Israel closed its air space to foreign planes, scaled down its presence in its embassies and other diplomatic offices abroad. The Foreign Ministry said it left only limited staffs at its diplomatic representations, but did not close them and increased protection of Israeli planes.

Later Israel decided to close all border crossing points to Egypt and Jordan and to tighten the closures around some Palestinian West Bank cities, evidently fearing the results of Tuesday's attacks in the United States might encourage Palestinian militants to launch their own attacks.

Israeli security sources said they suspected Osama Bin Laden, Iraq or Iran were involved in the attacks in the United States.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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Passengers in passing cars made the V-for-victory sign in satisfaction with the attacks of unprecedented magnitude that destroyed the soaring twin-towered World Trade Center in New York and set fire to the massive Pentagon military office building. Arafat expressed...
Tuesday, 11 September 2001 12:00 AM
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