Mideast Violence Takes New Turn

In continuing violence, Palestinians with weapons and explosives tried to attack an army base inside Israel on Sunday, Israeli helicopters fired missiles at Palestinian buildings in the West Bank city of Nablus early after two Israeli teen-agers were killed in a suicide bomb attack in a nearby Jewish settlement, and there are questions about the safety of the settlements.

Two Palestinians in a car tried to enter an Israeli army base near Hadera, a city in Israel's north, reports CBS News Correspondent Robert Berger. One was shot dead by a police officer; the second tried to drive away and blew himself up. One officer and a few other Israelis were wounded, two seriously.

The two Palestinians were apparently planning to attack a nearby army base when they were stopped by the cops.


Learn more about the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.


In the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian policeman who had been wounded in a clash with Israeli soldiers, died in a hospital.

The Israeli missile attack early Sunday was retaliation for a suicide bombing attack at a shopping center in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Karnei Shomron, killing two Israeli teen-agers.

Saturday night's suicide bombing at a mall in a settlement was the first time a suicide bomber infiltrated the tight security of a Jewish settlement, and that has the settlers worried.

"I always thought that we were safest here as opposed to a city," said Jenny Schwartz, from the West Bank settlement of Hamre, "and that's been shaken a bit."

While some settlers have moved to safer ground, most plan to stay. They don't want to let terrorists drive them out, and anyway, no place in Israel these days is especially safe.

Sunday's missiles hit the headquarters of the Nablus governor, a police station, an empty residence intended for Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on his visits to the city and an apartment block, witnesses said. A resident of the apartment block was lightly injured.

The army said the helicopter attack was launched "in the wake of murderous attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers."

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the second biggest group in the PLO, claimed responsibility for the bombing, in a leaflet and a phone call to The Associated Press. The bomber was an 18-year-old house painter from the West Bank city of Qalqilya. Karnei Shomron lies between Qalqilya and Nablus.

Israel holds Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat responsible for the current wave of Palestinian bombing and shooting attacks. "Yasser Arafat is continuing a campaign of carnage against Israeli civilians," said Dore Gold, a government spokesman. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon maintains that Arafat could prevent the attacks but is not doing so.

But more and more, Israelis are spreading some of the blae to Sharon.

Sharon returned to work after a week battling flu to find the front pages of Israel's biggest newspapers plastered with black-bordered photos of seven Israelis killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip over the past three days.

The photo gallery was accompanied by editorials and commentaries bemoaning what one senior columnist called Israel's current malady in the nearly 17-month tug of war with the Palestinians: no hope, no initiative and no momentum.

Sharon, quoted by newspapers as saying Israel "would win this war, too," huddled with senior cabinet ministers after the government held its weekly meeting on Sunday to weigh military moves.

With peace efforts led by the United States frozen and the death toll on both sides mounting daily, an Israeli city center was the scene of an unusual occurrence on Saturday night — a peace rally that drew a crowd.

Some 14,000 people attended the Peace Now rally in Tel Aviv for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Amnon Dankner, editor of the mainstream Maariv daily, wrote in a commentary that Sharon's government had no way out of the cycle of death and retribution.

"These boxing rounds, in which we assassinate (militants) and they commit suicide attacks and shoot, and we raid and they place bombs, are beginning to look like a dead end that changes nothing," he wrote.

"Things can't go on like this."

This was the first time a suicide bombing had blown himself up inside a settlement. Earlier Palestinian suicide bombings were inside Israel or at Israeli military positions in the Gaza Strip.

Also, the bombing was by the PFLP, a secular group with a Marxist ideology. Up till now almost all suicide bombings have been carried out by Muslim religious groups such as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.

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