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Monday, 10 September, 2001, 09:48 GMT 10:48 UK
Israel launches punitive attacks
The debris of the Palestinian police headquarters in Kabatiya in the West Bank
Israeli missiles destroyed this Palestinian police HQ
Israeli tanks and helicopters have been pounding Palestinian targets in the West Bank in retaliation for a series of attacks against Israeli civilians over the weekend.

A Palestinian policeman was killed in one of the pre-dawn assaults, on the village of Tamoun, near Jenin.

A Palestinian man in Beirut's Shatila refugee camp
A Palestinian man hands out sweets after the weekend violence
The attacks were in response to Palestinian violence on Sunday that included two suicide bomb attacks and a drive-by shooting.

Five Israelis and three Palestinians were killed. Two of the Palestinians who died were blown up in their own suicide bombings.

Planned talks between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres have now been rejected by the Israeli government, the French news agency AFP reported.

Israeli spokesman Raanan Gissin said the security cabinet meeting on Sunday had "ruled out a Peres-Arafat meeting in Egypt".

Monday morning's Israeli tankfire injured at least three other police officers, one seriously, Palestinian officials said.

On Sunday night, Israel also conducted strikes on five other Palestinian security targets in the West Bank, as part of what Israeli radio reported as a government policy to intensify retaliation against Palestinian violence.

Bloody weekend

The deadliest attack carried out by the Palestinians on Sunday was in the northern coastal town of Naharia.

Three Israelis were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the train station.

At least 10 people were reported injured by the bomb.

For the first time, an Israeli Arab is suspected of carrying out the bombing.

Israeli officials said identity papers near his remains identified him as Muhammad Saker Habashi, 48, from a village near Naharia.

Police said his identity had yet to be confirmed by forensic tests.

A second suicide bomber later exploded his device near a bus at the busy Beit Lid intersection, near the central town of Netanya.

The bomber died and three Israelis were injured.

US national security adviser Condoleezza Rice condemned the bloodshed as "senseless" and said the Palestinians should do more to stop the violence.

The latest attacks took place as Israel's security cabinet met to discuss measures to stop militants getting into Israel.

Blame

The Israeli Government accused the Palestinian Authority of doing nothing to stop suicide bombers.

Vehicle carrying the teachers
The vehicle after the drive-by shooting
The Palestinian Authority rejected the Israeli allegations and issued a statement condemning all attacks on civilians as well as the subsequent missile strikes.

In another incident on Sunday , two Israelis were killed and three injured in a drive-by shooting in the West Bank.

A car with a Palestinian number plate overtook a minibus transporting teachers to settlers' schools in the Jordan Valley and opened fire.

The bus driver and a teacher died in the attack, police said.

The militant group Islamic Jihad said it carried out the attack.

Separately, a Palestinian was killed and another was injured in the Gaza Strip by Israeli soldiers, Palestinian security forces said.

Recent bomb blasts
9/8/2001: 15 killed in Jerusalem restaurant suicide bombing
2/6/2001: 21 dead and 60 injured in Tel Aviv disco attack
2/11/2000: Car bomb kills two in Jerusalem market
The militant Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine told Reuters news agency the men belonged to their group and were on a mission to strike inside Israel.

Correspondents say the latest violence will play into the hands of members of the Israeli cabinet supporting more stringent security measures around the West Bank.

Ministers discussed the situation on Sunday but they are reported to have rejected an army request to set up a series of buffer zones around the West Bank.

The army plan envisaged making a strip of West Bank land next to Israeli territory off-limits to Palestinians.

Palestinians say such zones would make their lives intolerable.

But the Israeli Government has imposed a traffic ban on Palestinians using the Jordan Valley road in the West Bank.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Caroline Hawley in Jerusalem
"Israel has rejected a Palestinian proposal to meet in Egypt"
Palestinian spokesman Mustafa Barghouti
"The main problem of this country is the Israeli occupation"
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Gideon Meir
"The only way to come to any solution is through diplomatic negotiation"
See also:

09 Sep 01 | Middle East
In pictures: Mid-East bloodshed
08 Sep 01 | Middle East
Israel rockets Fatah building
29 Mar 01 | Middle East
Who are the suicide bombers?
09 Sep 01 | Middle East
Palestinian minister held
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