Daily Israel Report

Israel Responds

In reaction to the terrorist bombing in Jerusalem a complete closure was announced on all PA areas, beginning last night (Tuesday) as well as a freeze on all further steps in the diplomatic process.
First Publish: 8/20/2003, 10:20 AM

In reaction to the terrorist bombing in Jerusalem, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz announced a complete closure on all Palestinian Authority areas, beginning last night (Tuesday). He and Prime Minister Sharon had earlier decided to freeze all further steps in the diplomatic process initiated with the PA, especially the transfer of Kalkilye and Jericho that had been planned for today. All meetings between Israeli and PA officials have been called off.

In Hevron this morning, IDF forces barred the gates of Hevron's large "Arches" Mosque, where the suicide bomber who struck in Jerusalem served as imam. In addition, 17 Hevron Arabs, including family members of the terrorist, were arrested in connection with the attack.
Ever since the bombing, police remain on high, level 3, terror alert, one level from the highest. There are more than 30 intelligence warnings of planned terrorist attacks.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz met this morning with the head of the Shabak (General Security Service) and top IDF officers, and they presented their conclusions to Prime Minister Sharon. Sharon and Mofaz have decided to allow the PA another opportunity to act against the terrorist groups operating in territory under its control. According to security sources, Yasser Arafat will not be expelled at this point, nor will IDF forces take control of his Ramallah headquarters.