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Saturday, 26 January, 2002, 08:41 GMT
Arafat urges end to attacks
Masked Palestinian masked militant fires in the air next to a portrait of Yasser Arafat
More pressure on Arafat to crack down on militants
Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority has called on militants to halt attacks on Israel.

The call - made after a cabinet meeting - followed a day of renewed confrontation on Friday between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israeli warplanes attacked targets in Palestinian-controlled areas in apparent retaliation for a suicide bomb attack in Tel Aviv, which left at least 22 bystanders injured as well as killing the bomber himself.

The people of Israel cannot tolerate these kind of activities continuing

Israeli spokesman Dore Gold

There has also been renewed pressure from the United States and Israel for Mr Arafat to take tougher action against militants.

The Palestinian cabinet urged militant groups to "maintain a comprehensive ceasefire and stop operations against Israel and the Israelis".

"These operations do not serve our national cause at all", it said.

The Palestinian Authority also called for the return to the region of US envoy Anthony Zinni, who has been trying to broker a halt to the violence.

Warplanes sent in

Israel blamed the Palestinian Authority for the suicide bombing in Tel Aviv and sent F-16 jets to bomb Palestinian security targets in Gaza City and the West Bank town of Tulkarm.

The attack on Gaza targeted the Ansar security compound near the seaside headquarters of Mr Arafat, who is currently besieged by the Israeli army at his West Bank headquarters in Ramallah.

The strike on Tulkarm levelled a building close to the governor's residence that had already been largely flattened earlier in the week.

Israelis clear up after Tel Aviv attack
Islamic Jihad recently announced it would resume attacks on Israel
At least two people were wounded in the attacks.

The Palestinian Authority has described the Israeli air raids as a serious escalation.

The earlier blast in Tel Aviv happened in a shopping area near the disused central bus station, which is usually crowded before the Sabbath.

The militant Islamic Jihad group said it carried out the attack, identifying the bomber as 18-year-old Safwat Khalil.

Bush 'disappointed'

Both the United States and Israel have intensified pressure on Mr Arafat to curb Palestinian militants.

Yasser Arafat
Arafat has been confined to Ramallah since December
President Bush said he was "disappointed" with the Palestinian leader and that Mr Arafat had to make a "full effort to rout out terror".

The American president made his remarks as senior members of his administration were contemplating a possible change of policy towards the Palestinian Authority.

A senior Palestinian official, Marwan Barghouti, said American policies were unfair and had led to bloodshed in the Middle East.

Palestinian leaders said the Israelis had been given a green light to launch air strikes by an apparent toughening of US policy against the Palestinians.

The BBC's Caroline Wyatt
"It was a swift response"
President George W Bush
"I am disappointed in Yasser Arafat"
See also:

25 Jan 02 | Middle East
Israeli jets hit Palestinian targets
25 Jan 02 | Middle East
Suicide bomber strikes Tel Aviv
25 Jan 02 | Middle East
Hamas vows revenge for militant's death
25 Jan 02 | Middle East
US 'proves' Palestinian arms link
24 Jan 02 | Middle East
'Suicide squad' killed in Gaza blast
02 Dec 01 | profiles
Who are the suicide bombers?
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