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Thursday, 20 February, 2003, 10:57 GMT
Key events from 2001
An Israeli man at his son's funeral
Mourners in Israel after a suicide bomb attack
BBC News Online looks at some of the key events in the Middle East this year.


DECEMBER 2001


Israel keeps Arafat from midnight mass
24 December

Yasser Arafat
Mr Arafat's speech was relayed to a disappointed crowd
Yasser Arafat is prevented from travelling to Bethlehem for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Mr Arafat says that Israel was guilty of "a crime" by blocking his route to the town. Earlier, a Palestinian gunman was killed in the West Bank town of Nablus, after seriously wounding an Israeli settler.

 The BBC's Jeremy Cooke reports from Bethlehem



Israel hits back after bus attack
12 December

10 people were killed in this bus attack
10 people were killed in this bus attack
Israeli F-16s went into action over Gaza a matter of hours after at least 10 Israelis were killed in a Palestinian attack on a bus at a Jewish settlement.

 The BBC's Paul Adams reports


Israeli push for arrests
9 December

An Israeli tank in the West Bank
Israeli attacks on Palestinian areas continue
Dozens of Israeli tanks and armoured vehicles, backed by helicopter gunships stormed two villages on the West Bank in an attempt to arrest suspected militants. Four Palestinian policemen were killed. A Palestinian suicide bomber launched an attack in Haifa in which 10 people were injured.

 The BBC's Paul Adams reports


Arafat accused of supporting terror
4 December

Arafat was in the complex when it was attacked
Yasser Arafat was in an office close to a police station hit during the attacks
Israel declared the Palestinian authority an entity which supports terror. The Israeli army continued its attacks on the West Bank and Gaza Strip killing 2 people and injuring hundreds. The Palestinian security forces have arrested more than 100 Hamas militants but Israel says much more has to be done.

 The BBC's Jeremy Cooke reports

 The BBC's David Loyn on the problems facing Yasser Arafat


Israel strikes back
3 December

Yasser Arafat's helicopters were targeted by the Israelis
Yasser Arafat's helicopters were targeted by the Israelis
Israeli helicopter gunships launched attacks on Palestinian targets, including the headquarters of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank town of Ramallah. As Israel began its response to the suicide bombings, the United States said Israel had the right to defend itself.

 The BBC's Orla Guerin reports


Suicide bombers kill 26
2 December

The wreckage of a bus destroyed by a suicide bomber
The wreckage of a bus destroyed by a suicide bomber
An apparently co-ordinated series of attacks in Jerusalem and Haifa left 26 Israelis dead. The Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon was forced to cut short his visit to Washington, returning to Israel to weigh up his government's response.

 The BBC's Orla Guerin reports
 The BBC's Tom Carver on the state of the peace process


OCTOBER 2001


Israeli Minister assassinated
17 October

Zeevi criticised government for being
Zeevi criticised government for being "too soft" on Palestinians

Israel's hard-line Tourism Minister, Rehavam Zeevi, was shot dead by gunmen in a Jerusalem hotel. Later that day, Israeli tanks moved into parts of the West Bank - killing three Palestinians.

 The BBC's Jeremy Cooke reports


AUGUST 2001


15 dead at pizza restaurant
9 August

An Israeli policewoman carries a baby to safety at the scene of the blast
An Israeli policewoman carries a baby to safety at the scene of the blast

A suicide bomb attack at a restaurant in the heart of Jerusalem killed 15 people - including a number of children - and injured more than 90. The BBC's Jeremy Cooke reports from Jerusalem.

 Click here to watch

Israeli assassination policy
3 August

A hooded Palestinian boy holds a Hamas flag
A hooded Palestinian boy holds a Hamas flag

Israeli leader Ariel Sharon is committed to the policy of assassinating individuals who his forces believe pose a threat to Israeli citizens. The BBC's James Reynolds reports on the killings.

 Click here to watch


JULY 2001


Israel attacks Hamas headquarters
31 July

Survivors of the Israeli attack on Nablus escaping from the bombed building
Survivors of the Israeli attack on Nablus escaping from the bombed building

In their most deadly strike since the uprising began, Israeli helicopters attack the regional headquarters of the Palestinian militant organisation Hamas, killing eight people including two of the group's senior leaders and two children. The BBC's Jeremy Cooke reports.

 Click here to watch

Summer school for terrorists

The boys are told it's good to kill - and to die
The boys are told it's good to kill - and to die

Islamic Jihad is running a summer school - teaching boys to become suicide bombers. This new generation of 12-15 year olds is growing up amid conflict and violence, as the BBC's Jeremy Cooke reports.

 Click here to watch

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