Launching its promised war on Islamic militants, Israel dispatched troops throughout the West Bank on Tuesday, blockading Palestinians inside their towns and villages and sealing shut the family homes of suspected suicide bombers.
Israel rejected a truce offer from Hamas, the Islamic resistance group which has claimed responsibility for four suicide bomb attacks that have killed 57 people in addition to the four bombers and wounded more than 200 others since Feb. 25. Similar offers from Hamas were issued before Monday’s attack when an Islamic militant blew himself up outside a Tel Aviv mall.
President Clinton gave his strong backing to the Israeli crackdown and rushed $47 million in U.S. bomb-detection equipment in addition to counter-terrorism experts to Israel to assist.
“The United States has stood with you, the people of Israel, in times of triumph and tragedy. We stand with you today,” Clinton said in a videotaped statement broadcast on Israeli television. “As I have told Prime Minister (Shimon) Peres, I share your determination to do everything possible to bring this horror to an end and to bring those responsible to justice.”
Clinton also challenged Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to do “everything possible to end this campaign of terror.”
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