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Saturday, 23 March, 2002, 02:37 GMT
Bush renews call on Arafat
Demonstration in Jerusalem
For Israelis, suicide attacks are becoming a daily event
US President George W Bush has said that a meeting between Vice President Dick Cheney and Yasser Arafat is still possible, if the Palestinian leader halts attacks against Israel.

"A meeting could happen if and when Chairman Arafat performs, does what he's supposed to do," said President Bush.


Chairman Arafat knows what he needs to do, and that is to end the violence

White House spokesman
Mr Cheney left the Middle East on Wednesday. He refused to see Mr Arafat, but held out the possibility of a meeting next week.

Early on Saturday, Israeli troops were in action in the southern Gaza Strip, shooting dead a Palestinian near the town of Rafah.

Funeral of Jerusalem bomb victims
Suicide bombers have killed at least nine in the past three days
Tanks and armoured bulldozers advanced 200 metres into town, shelling houses and firing machine guns, according to Palestinian sources.

Israeli and Palestinian security officials held talks on Friday to discuss a possible ceasefire, but without results.

Both sides said they would hold more talks on Sunday.

Suicide bomber

Mr Arafat's Palestinian Authority condemned the latest suicide bomb attack at an Israeli army base in Salem, on the border between Israel and the West Bank.

Israeli soldier
Friday's attack targeted an Israeli border post
Friday's bombing - the third in as many days - was claimed by the al-Aqsa Brigades, an offshoot of Mr Arafat's Fatah movement.

A suicide bomber killed two in Jerusalem on Thursday, while seven died in a suicide bomb attack on a bus carrying mainly Arab labourers near the northern town of Umm el-Fahem on Wednesday.

Israeli military sources said the West Bank bomber was trying to enter Israel but blew himself up after soldiers at the checkpoint asked him to lift his shirt during a search.

The blast happened as Israelis and Palestinians met US peace envoy Anthony Zinni for the third time this week to try to find a way to implement a US-brokered truce plan.

Yasser Arafat
The US says Arafat "knows what he needs to do"
Israeli defence ministry spokesman Yarden Vatikai said Israel raised "what is demanded of the Palestinians in order to stop this awful terror".

The Palestinians said they complained to Mr Zinni about Israeli incursions into Palestinian territory.

A BBC correspondent in Jerusalem says neither side wants to be blamed for undermining Mr Zinni's peace mission.

Earlier, Mr Zinni visited the Palestinian leader at his headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah to express America's frustration at what it sees as Mr Arafat's failure to rein in militants.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Kylie Morris
"The continuing violence defies the talks aimed at securing a ceasefire"
See also:

21 Mar 02 | Middle East
Mid-East talks end without truce
21 Mar 02 | Media reports
Zinni fails to impress Mid-East media
20 Mar 02 | Middle East
Cheney offers olive branch to Arafat
16 Mar 02 | Middle East
Israel's stay-at-home culture
16 Feb 02 | Middle East
Israel's history of bomb blasts
05 Mar 02 | Middle East
Profile: Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade
02 Dec 01 | profiles
Who are the suicide bombers?
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