Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What truce? Israeli raids continue

Raids in West Bank continue — Peretz

TEL AVIV — Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz said yesterday that Israel would continue its arrest raids in the West Bank, saying the tenuous, two-day-old truce with Palestinian militant factions applied to the Gaza Strip only. Peretz spoke after Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian militant and a 56-year-old bystander during an arrest operation near the West Bank city of Jenin on Monday, sparking Palestinian allegations of an Israeli violation of the cease-fire.

“The basic understandings are that we are talking about a cease-fire in Gaza alone,” he said.

He also urged the Palestinian leadership to enforce the truce and threatened “severe respon-ses” to each violation of it by the Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of the moderate Fatah party agreed on a surprise truce that took effect on Sunday morning, after militant factions decided to stop rocket fire at Israel from Gaza in an attempt to stop Israeli military operations in the strip.

Renegade militants nevertheless fired 13 Gaza-made rockets at southern Israel on Sunday and Monday.

In a new operation yesterday, Israeli forces arrested 13 suspected West Bank militants, the army said. Peretz said Israel required an end to militant operations in the West Bank before it would consider a cease-fire there. DPA, Reuters

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