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The BBC's Stephen Gibbs
"The need for negotiation may never have been greater"
 real 56k

Henry Siegman, Council on Foreign Relations
"Violence does not serve the Palestinians' purposes"
 real 56k

Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General
"I am deeply disturbed by the disproportionate Israeli response"
 real 28k

Saturday, 19 May, 2001, 06:49 GMT 07:49 UK
Pressure grows for Mid-East ceasefire
Searching for survivors in Ramallah
Palestinian rescue workers search for survivors in Ramallah
US Secretary of State Colin Powell has called for an unconditional ceasefire between the Israelis and the Palestinians, after one of the worst days of violence since the Palestinian uprising began eight months ago.

Israeli bomber aircraft attacked Palestinian targets in the West Bank and Gaza, killing at least 12 people, in retaliation for a suicide attack in a crowded shopping centre which killed six Israelis.


Unless there is an unconditional cessation... it is hard to get back on a satisfactory negotiation track

Colin Powell
As Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat prepared for Saturday's meeting of the Arab League, Mr Powell urged leaders in the Middle East and elsewhere to condemn the violence and "do everything they can to control passions" in the region.

In further violence on Saturday, a Palestinian policeman was shot dead at a checkpoint near the West Bank town of Jenin by assailants in a passing car, according to Palestinian officials.

International pressure

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called Israel's military response to the Palestinian suicide bombing "disproportionate".

It was the first time the Israelis had used fighter bombers against Palestinian towns since 1967.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero were also among those voicing concern at the escalation in the fighting.

Israeli F16 warplane
Israel has used F16 aircraft for the first time in the current conflict
Israeli F16 warplanes carried out two waves of attacks on Palestinian security and government offices in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Friday evening after a suicide bomb attack earlier in the day on an Israeli shopping centre.

The Israeli prime minister's spokesman said the use of F16 aircraft was justified by the "seriousness" of the bomb attack on the coastal town of Netanya.

Bomber's town hit

In Nablus, the governor's office, police headquarters and a prison were hit, causing substantial damage.

Israeli police search the scene of a suicide bomb attack
An Israeli police explosives expert searches for evidence among the victims' bodies
Tulkarm - the home town of the young Palestinian suicide bomber - was also hit.

Israeli F16s also bombed the headquarters of the small Palestinian naval force in Beit Lahia, in the north of the Gaza Strip.

As the violence escalated, a Jewish settler was shot dead and two others were injured when the car they were travelling in came under fire near Ramallah.


Palestinian radio has reported that five children were wounded when Israeli soldiers fired on them as they played football near an Israeli guard post in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Government spokesmen blamed Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority for the bomb attack.

Raanan Gissin said the bombing was "the fruit of a new wave of incitations to hatred" by Mr Arafat and official Palestinian media.

A spokesman for the Palestinian Authority condemned "the murder of innocent Palestinian or Israeli civilians".

'Justified by Koran'

The Palestinian militant group, Hamas, said it carried out the attack in Netanya, and has suggested that more will follow.

Hamas spokesman Mahmoud Al-Zahhar told the BBC that the deaths of the Israeli citizens was "justified by the Koran and justified by international law".

Sequence of events
0830 GMT: Suicide bomber hits Netanya shopping centre
Jewish settler shot dead in the West Bank
Nablus and Ramallah hit by warplanes, helicopter gunships and artillery
Israeli strikes against Palestinian targets in Gaza
When asked if Hamas would carry out more attacks he said: "We are expecting more aggression from the Israeli side and more resistance from the Palestinian side".

The BBC's Stephen Gibbs in Jerusalem said that despite the calls for peace, the atmosphere is hardly conducive to a ceasefire, let alone negotiated peace.

The sixteen people, Palestinian and Israeli, who died in Friday's violence are all expected to be buried later on Saturday. Far from being united in grief, the two sides have rarely been further apart.

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