Israelis round up Palestinian men as Arafat remains penned up

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- Israeli troops rounded up hundreds of Palestinian men for questioning, battled gunmen and imposed a curfew in the West Bank's main city Saturday. Yasser Arafat was penned up in his office, surrounded by Israeli troops and trying to keep up his staff's morale, aides and witnesses said.

Israel's military offensive, launched Friday to hunt down militants after a series of Palestinian attacks, will last as long as it takes "to guarantee the safety of our homes," Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told Israeli television. Eleven Palestinians and two Israelis have been killed in the two days of fighting in Ramallah.

In a new attack, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowded cafe in Tel Aviv's entertainment district Saturday evening, killing himself and wounding at least 32 people, including four who were in serious condition and one in critical condition, police and paramedics said. A militia linked to Arafat's Fatah movement claimed responsibility.

Two other Palestinians heading into Israel to conduct a suicide attack got into a gunbattle with Israeli police at the edge of the West Bank. An Israeli officer and the two Palestinians were killed.

President Bush said Saturday that he respects Israel's right to defend itself and demanded that Arafat do more to stem violence.

"I can understand why the Israeli government takes the actions they take. Their country is under attack," Bush said. He said Arafat "can do a lot more" to prevent terrorist attacks.

"He's got a lot of people that listen to him still," Bush said. "He's got to make it absolutely clear that the Palestinian Authority does not support these terrorist activities."

Still, the United States supported a U.N. Security Council resolution passed early Saturday that called on Israel to withdraw from Palestinian cities, including Ramallah.

European nations criticized Israel, calling on it to implement the resolution, while angry protests broke out in several Arab nations.

Israel is expected to broaden its offensive in Palestinian-controlled areas in coming days, and the military was in action on two other fronts Saturday.

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