I can’t figure out what happened at the end from this article? Did they
Arafat Calls World Leaders for Help
Fri Mar 29, 6:32 PM ET
By HADEEL WAHDAN, Associated Press Writer
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - Israeli troops backed by tanks swarmed into
Yasser Arafat (news - web sites)'s
headquarters Friday, punching holes in walls and fighting room to room
as the Palestinian leader huddled in a windowless
office and made frantic appeals to world leaders by cellphone.
Five Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were
killed as Israeli forces took over the West Bank city of
Ramallah and Arafat’s sprawling compound, where 25
Palestinians were wounded and 60
In the latest Palestinian attack, an 18-year-old
woman blew herself up at the entrance of a
Jerusalem supermarket, killing herself and two
Israelis. The Al-Aqsa Brigades, a militia close to
Arafat’s Fatah (news - web sites) movement, said it
sent the bomber.
The Ramallah operation was described by Israeli
officials as the first stage of a much larger assault
aimed at destroying the “terrorist infrastructure”
that Israelis blame for the hundreds of deaths they
have suffered in 18 months of relentless violence.
More than a thousand Palestinians also have
Israel said it had no plans to kill Arafat but
wanted to isolate him.
Throughout the day, Israeli tanks shelled buildings
in the compound and soldiers entered buildings
and traded fire with Palestinians. By nightfall,
Arafat was trapped in his three-story office building,
which was plunged into darkness when soldiers cut
off electricity and destroyed a generator.
Phone links were blocked, leaving Arafat with only
a cell phone to connect him with the outside
Arafat was in a windowless room, following events
on television, giving phone interviews to Arab
satellite TV channels and speaking by phone to more
than a dozen world leaders. Arafat pleaded
for immediate international intervention, but was
not given real promises, one of his aides said.
The Palestinian news agency WAFA said some of the
leaders Arafat spoke with were U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan (news - web sites), Egyptian President
Hosni Mubarak (news - web sites), Lebanese Prime
Minister Rafik Hariri, Arab League leader Amr Moussa, Libyan leader
Moammar Gadhafi and the heads of several African
A submachine gun placed on the table in front of him, Arafat was
defiant. “They want me under arrest or in exile or dead,
but I am telling them, I prefer to be martyred,” he said in a
telephone interview with Al-Jazeera, the Arab satellite television
channel. “May God make us martyrs.”
Annan convened an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council
Friday night to discuss the Mideast crisis.
In an interview with CNN, Arafat assailed Israel, saying the
Palestinian people were “fighting this tyranny.” He said
Palestinians will continue “in the face of … this terrorist
In yet another interview with Jordanian state-run television, Arafat
described Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (news -
web sites) as “bloodthirsty” and bent on “blowing up” a collective
Arab peace initiative endorsed Thursday.
“Is this the right answer to the Arab summit and the proposal of Saudi
Crown Prince Abdullah?”
Arafat added that the United States “could have ordered him (Sharon)
to end the attacks. Why are they quiet despite all that
is taking place?”
In Washington, Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) said
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had told the
United States that Arafat would not be harmed. Powell urged the
Israeli prime minister to use restraint and consider the
consequences of escalation. But he added: “Let’s be clear about what
brought it all to a halt — terrorism,” and called on
Arafat to put a stop to violence.
Despite the violence, U.S. truce envoy Anthony Zinni continued his
mission, meeting with Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat
on Friday and speaking to Arafat by phone.
Erekat said Israel’s “endgame is to kill Arafat,” an accusation that
Sharon spokesman Ranaan Gissin dismissed as
The latest escalation began with a suicide bombing Wednesday in an
Israeli hotel banquet hall that killed 22 diners during a
Passover Seder, the ritual meal at the start of the weeklong Jewish
holiday. It was followed by attacks on two Jewish
settlements Thursday and Friday that killed six Israelis.
On Friday morning, after an all-night session, his Cabinet declared
Arafat an “enemy” and said the Palestinian leader would
be completely isolated. Israel began calling up thousands of reserve
soldiers, and the mobilization was expected to reach
20,000 troops, the largest in a decade.
Hours later, Israeli troops and two dozen tanks swarmed into Arafat’s
walled compound — an area the size of a city block
with a jumble of several interconnected buildings, surrounded by a
high wall with three gates.
Israeli troops know every inch of Arafat’s three story-office building
— it was the Israeli military headquarters in Ramallah
until Israel withdrew from the city in 1995. The bottom floor has
guard rooms, the middle floor houses Arafat’s office, dining
room and sleeping quarters, and the top has more offices.
In Friday’s assault, heavy tank and gunfire hit the building’s first
and third floors, Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo
said — the first time Israel directly targeted the building. Israeli
snipers took positions on rooftops, and tanks shelled the
intelligence headquarters in the complex.
Israeli troops broke into structures adjacent to Arafat’s offices and
punched holes in walls, moving room to room toward his
building. At one point, they broke through a wall into the office
building itself and traded fire with Palestinians through the
hole, the Palestinians said.
But the military said its soldiers did not enter the building. Maj.
Gen. Yitzhak Eitan, commander of Israeli troops in the West
Bank, said troops were in control of the whole compound except
Arafat’s offices. He said large amounts of weapons were
found and about 60 people were detained. Abed Rabbo told CNN those
detained were unarmed, mostly secretaries and
Earlier this month, the Israeli military carried out an extensive
operation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (news - web sites),
sending 20,000 soldiers into towns, villages and refugee camps in a
hunt for Palestinian militants. That operation was the
biggest since Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon.
Zinni, the U.S. envoy, had reported some progress toward a cease-fire
this week. Israel had accepted Zinni’s timetable for
implementing a truce with some reservations, while the Palestinians
sought more clarifications.
Thursday evening, with Israeli retaliation for the Passover bombing
already imminent, Arafat said he was ready to
immediately implement the U.S. truce plan without conditions. But he
stopped short of formally declaring a cease-fire.
Sharon later said Israel had sought a cease-fire but only received
“terrorism, terrorism and more terrorism.”
The Israeli assault sparked protests by Palestinian refugees in camps
in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. Arab leaders said the
assault was aimed at wrecking an unprecedented peace initiative
approved at an Arab summit on Thursday, offering Israel
normal relations in exchange for its withdrawal from territory
captured in the 1967 Mideast war.