Powell - Suicide bombings diminish Arafat's power

Monday, December 10, 2001

JERUSALEM -- A suicide bomber set off an explosion at a busy intersection in northern Israel on Sunday, failing to kill anyone other than himself but intensifying American and Israeli pressure on Yasser Arafat.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said a string of recent bombings are destroying Arafat's "authority and credibilit."

The United States and Israel have demanded Arafat do more to stop terrorists; the Palestinian leader says he is cracking down on them and that 180 have been arrested. So long as the terrorism continues, Israel says its incursions into Palestinian territory are necessary.

In the West Bank Sunday, Israeli soldiers killed five Palestinians and detained 30 suspected militants in raids on two villages.

American diplomatic efforts hit a rough patch as peace envoy Anthony Zinni told Israeli and Palestinian security officials that if they didn't make real progress in the next 48 hours, he would consider leaving the region.

Zinni reportedly stood up and left the peace talks between the two sides after issuing his ultimatum, an Israeli said.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned after the botched bombing in the northern port city of Haifa that Israeli strikes on the Palestinian territories were likely to intensify.

The Haifa bombing, which killed the attacker and slightly injured 11 bystanders, came a week after another suicide bomber detonated himself on a bus there, killing 15.

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