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Friday, 11 May, 2001, 14:05 GMT 15:05 UK
Violence dominates Mid-East headlines
Smoke rises from the Gaza City police headquarters after an Israeli helicopter rocketed the building
The newspapers comment on Israeli attacks on Gaza
By Peter Biles in Jerusalem

The newspapers are, as always, full of the details of the escalating conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

On its front page, the Jerusalem Post has a dramatic colour photograph taken seconds after Thursday's Israeli missile attack on Yasser Arafat's security headquarters in Gaza.

The paper quotes the Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as saying that Israel now faces a protracted and difficult battle.

The Israeli daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, says that although the attack on Gaza took place in broad daylight, Israel did not give the Palestinian Authority any advance warning. However, Palestinian security officials are said to have been expecting some form of Israeli retaliation for an earlier bomb explosion that killed two Romanian workers in Israel.

The paper says many of the Palestinians had therefore left their offices at midday. As it was though, 25 people were injured in the missile strike.

Teenagers' murder

Another Israeli paper, Ma'ariv, reports progress in the investigation into the murder of the two 14-year-old Israeli boys who were bludgeoned to death close to their homes in the West Bank on Wednesday.

Israeli Chief of Staff General Shaul Mofaz
Assassination attempts on Israel's Chief of Staff?
It claims that information reaching the investigators show that two Palestinians carried out the murder.

Footprints were traced to a nearby Arab village, where at first, a number of shepherds were arrested. But that in turn, led to other suspects being detained.

The diplomatic correspondent of the Israeli Ha'aretz says the foreign minister, Shimon Peres, has come up with a new formula for dealing with the vexed question of Jewish settlements. The formula, intended to allay Palestinian fears, refers to "natural growth" in the settlements as "demographic", rather than "territorial".

Arabic press

The Israeli Hatzofe newspaper claims there have been at least two failed attempts by Palestinians to assassinate Israeli Chief of Staff General Shaul Mofaz in the last few months. One was a car bomb which was found and dismantled by the police.

The second attempt involved missiles. But two rocket-propelled grenade launchers were seized before they could be used to hit the general's helicopter.

In the Arabic press, both Al Quds and Al Ayyam claim the Israelis are using a deadly new type of weapon in their war against the Palestinians - tank shells that have metal pieces inserted in them and cause enormous damage when the shells explode. Al Quds has an x-ray photograph of a boy's leg in which one of the metal fragments has lodged.

The Arabic papers also highlight the tight security in Jerusalem and say there will be an Israeli crackdown on any possible unrest, such as stone-throwing, after Friday prayers in the Old City.

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See also:

11 May 01 | Middle East
Gaza clashes follow Israeli raid
10 May 01 | Middle East
In pictures: Israeli missile strike
10 May 01 | Middle East
Israel slashes settlement funding
10 May 01 | Middle East
Flare-up as Israel buries slain boys
08 May 01 | Middle East
Analysis: Arms haul sparks new fears
07 May 01 | Middle East
Israeli attack kills baby girl
05 May 01 | Middle East
Report criticises Israeli settlements
09 May 01 | Middle East
Analysis: Words stoke Mid-East fires
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