Palestinians teeter on brink of civil war

Los Angeles Times

GAZA CITY, West Bank – Yasser Arafat moved closer to warfare with the radical Hamas Islamic movement Thursday, continuing a roundup of militants despite resistance as he struggled to stave off a renewed Israeli assault on his regime.

Tension was high in the neighborhood where Hamas supporters and Palestinian police clashed after the Palestinian Authority placed Hamas’ founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, under house arrest.

One of three demonstrators wounded in the confrontation died of his injuries Thursday. Police said he was shot by Hamas gunmen who battled them outside Yassin’s home. Hamas said he was shot by police.

Clashes flared again late Thursday, with police in riot gear charging stone-throwing youths. No injuries were reported.

Hamas waited to see how far Arafat would go now that Israel and the Bush administration had driven home the point that the militant Islamic organization threatens his survival as much as Israel does. Islamic militants are counting on support from Palestinians who admire their rejection of negotiations with Israel, their willingness to die for their cause and their social welfare work.

Supporters of Hamas and of Arafat’s Fatah movement insisted they would not let the confrontation degenerate into civil war. But both sides say Israel’s demand that Arafat dismantle the organization and lock up its hardcore activists has created a situation fraught with danger for the Palestinians. Arafat may have no choice but to take them on.

Israel launched a military assault on the underpinnings of Arafat’s regime Tuesday after a series of suicide bombings in Jerusalem and Haifa over the weekend, claimed by Hamas, killed more than two dozen people and wounded scores. But it suspended air raids after Arafat phoned Foreign Minister Shimon Peres on Wednesday, asking for more time to make arrests.

In a statement issued Thursday, Hamas said it rejected Yassin’s house arrest and called on Arafat to “rescind this dangerous decision.”

The pressure continued to mount, with U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni pressing home the message to Arafat that he must act decisively to avoid more Israeli attacks.

A senior Palestinian intelligence official in the West Bank said Arafat is determined to quell any signs of a Hamas revolt and to continue arrests. But he didn’t say how the security forces could pull off the crackdown.

“We are attempting to restore law and order in Gaza right now,” he said.

Palestinian security officials said arrests continued overnight Wednesday and Thursday, and that more than 180 people had been detained, 70 of them in Ramallah alone.

Israeli security sources said, however, that only a half-dozen of what Israel considers to be the most dangerous militants had been arrested.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A view of one of the potential locations of the new Aquasox stadium on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024 in Everett, Washington. The site sits between Hewitt Avenue, Broadway, Pacific Avenue and the railroad. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
20 businesses could be demolished for downtown Everett stadium

Some business owners say the city didn’t tell them of plans for a new AquaSox stadium that could displace their businesses.

Kathy Purviance-Snow poses for a photo in her computer lab at Snohomish High School on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Snohomish, WA. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
To ban or embrace ChatGPT? Local teachers fight AI with AI — or don’t

“It has fundamentally changed my teaching in really stressful and exciting ways,” an EvCC teacher said. At all levels of education, ChatGPT poses a tricky question.

In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo a Boeing 737 MAX 7 is displayed during a debut for employees and media of the new jet in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
FAA gives Boeing 90 days to develop plan to fix quality, safety issues

The agency’s ultimatum comes a day after a meeting with CEO Dave Calhoun and other top Boeing officials in Washington, D.C.

A man walks by Pfizer headquarters, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in New York. Pfizer will spend about $43 billion to buy Seagen and broaden its reach into cancer treatments, the pharmaceutical giant said. (AP Photo / Mark Lennihan, File)
Pfizer backs out of Everett manufacturing plant after $43B Seagen deal

Pfizer finalized the acquisition of the Bothell-based cancer drug developer in December.

SonShine Preschool inside First Baptist Church Monroe is pictured Friday, March 1, 2024, in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
SonShine preschool in Monroe to close at the end of the year

The preschool, operated by First Baptist Church, served kids for 25 years. School leadership did not explain the reason behind the closure.

Cars drive through snow along I-5 in Snohomish County, Washington on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
In March, 7 p.m. sunsets are back for Western Washington

Washingtonians will finally start seeing more sun starting March 10. But a little more winter could be on the way first.

One of the parking lots at Stevens Pass Thursday afternoon on December 30, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Stevens Pass to charge $20 for parking reservations on busy days

Two-thirds of spaces will remain free for early arrivers on weekends. Cars with four or more occupants can also park free.

Lynnwood
Days after shootout with Lynnwood police, suspect checks into hospital

Police learned the 18-year-old was in a hospital in Portland, Oregon. His alleged role in the shooting remained unclear.

Everett
Snohomish County pharmacy tech accused of stealing 2,500 opioid pills

Rachel Langdon stole oxycodone while working at a Snohomish County pharmacy, according to state Department of Health allegations.

Patrick Kunz speaks during his sentencing on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington.(Annie Barker / The Herald)
Everett gymnastics coach who spied on students sentenced to 6 months

Patrick Kunz, 47, pleaded guilty to charges of voyuerism and possession of child pornography last month.

Traffic moves along Highway 526 in front of Boeing’s Everett Production Facility on Nov. 28, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / Sound Publishing)
Everett transgender mechanic alleges Boeing treated her ‘like a zoo animal’

For years, Boeing allowed toxicity “to fester and grow” at its Everett factory, according to Rachel Rasmussen, an employee from 1989 to 2024.

Everett police officers survey the scene of a shooting along East Casino Road on Friday, Oct. 13, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Washington’s 5th police academy could be in Snohomish County

A new academy in Northwest Washington would help clear a lengthy wait list for new police hires to get training.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.