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October 04, 2004 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-04

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2A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, October 4, 2004 _________


vows to
JERUSALEM (AP) - Prime Min-
ister Ariel Sharon pledged yesterday
to escalate a broad Israeli offensive in
northern Gaza, saying troops will remain
until Palestinian rocket attacks are halted.
Israeli officials said the offensive - in
which 58 Palestinians and three Israelis
have been killed - will help clear the
way for an Israeli withdrawal.
Israel poured 2,000 troops into north-
ern Gaza after a Palestinian rocket attack
on Wednesday killed two preschoolers
in the Israeli town of Sderot.
In new bloodshed yesterday, at least
seven Palestinians, including a 13-
year-old boy, were killed, while a sec-
ond 13-year-old boy died of wounds
sustained earlier.
The fighting, concentrated in Jebaliya
refugee camp, has caused heavy dam-
age. Palestinians say Israeli forces have
destroyed homes, torn up roads and left
a kindergarten in rubble.
Speaking on Israel Radio, Sharon
said he was determined to halt rocket
fire on towns inside Israel and shelling
of Jewish settlements in Gaza.
"The current situation cannot con-
tinue," Sharon said. "We have to expand
... the areas of operation in order to get
the rocket launchers out of the range of
Israeli towns," he added.
Israel is operating in a 5-mile strip of
northern Gaza, aimed at keeping its cit-
ies and towns out of rocket range.
"The forces will have to remain there
as long as this danger exists," Sharon
told Israel's Army Radio.
The rocket attacks could complicate
Sharon's plan to pull all troops and
Israeli settlements from Gaza next year.
Sharon insisted yesterday that the pull-
out would take place on schedule.
Hard-line opponents, including mem-
bers of Sharon's own party, accuse the
prime minister of caving in to terror-
ism and warn that a pullback will only
increase further violence.
Against the backdrop of criticism, last
week's fatal rocket attack left Sharon
with little choice but to act, said Gerald
Steinberg, a Middle East expert at Bar-
Ilan University. "Not doing anything ...
was not an option the government could
accept," he said.I
Raanan Gissin, a top adviser to Sha-
ron, said the offensive would pave the
way for the withdrawal by striking a
tough blow against the militants.
"When we leave, it won't be under
the threat of fire," Gissin said. "We have
seized the initiative."
After an emergency meeting to discuss
the crisis, Palestinian legislators issued a
statement yesterday implying that mili-
tants should stop firing rockets at Israel.
"The Palestinian Legislative Coun-
cil, while asserting our people's right
to resist Israel's ugly occupation, calls
on all factions to put this resistance in
a strategic frame that is consistent with
the Palestinian higher interests," the
lawmakers said.
Over the weekend, Israeli forces
hit hard at Palestinian militants in the
Jebaliya refugee camp and the nearby
towns. The army has labeled its opera-
tion "Days of Penitence."
Israeli officials said the military had
no intention of setting up a long-term
presence in northern Gaza, but they
gave no time limit for the operation.


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan
Violence increases as election nears
The killing in Afghanistan spirals onward, undermining U.S. claims of success
in pacifying the country with less than a week to go before an historic experiment
with democracy - direct presidential elections.
The deaths of three Afghan soldiers and two militants over the weekend - bare-
ly noted in news reports - brought to at least 957 the number of people reported
killed in political violence this year, according to an Associated Press review. The
toll includes about 30 American soldiers.
With Afghanistan three years removed from the brutality of Taliban rule, President
Bush has acclaimed the Oct. 9 presidential vote a beacon of hope for the Islamic world,
and a prelude to even more tricky balloting slated for January in Iraq.
But the tally of dead in Afghanistan - a haven of tranquility compared with
Iraq - is an indicator of the task facing both the U.S. military and whomever
becomes Afghanistan's first directly elected president - most likely the Ameri-
can-backed incumbent, Hamid Karzai - to consolidate a shaky peace.
The number of dead was drawn from a review of hundreds of daily stories by
The Associated Press since January 1. The actual toll is believed to be significantly
higher, since many killings in remote areas are not reported.
"Nobody relishes figures like that," said Maj. Gen. Eric Olson, the No. 2 Ameri-
can commander in Afghanistan.
Death toll high as insurgents retreat
Bloodied by weeks of suicide bombings and assassinations, Iraqi security
forces emerged yesterday to patrol Samarra after a morale-boosting victory in
this Sunni Triangle city, and U.S. commanders praised their performance.
American and Iraqi commanders have declared the operation in Samarra, 60
miles northwest of Baghdad, a successful first step in a major push to wrest key
areas of Iraq from insurgents before January elections.
But locals were angered by the civilian death toll.
Of the 70 dead brought to Samarra General Hospital since fighting erupted, 23
were children and 18 were women, hospital official Abdul-Nasser Hamed Yassin
said. Another 160 wounded people also were treated.
"The people who were hurt most are normal people who have nothing to do with
anything," said Abdel Latif Hadi, 45.
Twelve miles south of Baghdad, two bodies - those of a woman and a man
whose head was severed - were found, with police saying the corpses looked like
those of Westerners.
Explosion levels Indian utilities, marketplace
Militants bombed utilities, a tea plantation and a crowded marketplace in north-
eastern India yesterday, intensifying violence that has killed 57 people in two days
and snarling efforts to bring cease-fires in a region where dozens of ethnic rebel
groups are fighting for separate homelands.
At least 17 bombings and shootings were carried out over the weekend in Naga-
land and Assam states. The attacks - particularly an explosion Saturday that ripped
through a railway station full of commuters - angered even some separatist leaders.
Nearly 40 groups have been fighting in the mountainous region of multiple
ethnicities wedged between Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar. Rebels in Naga-
land have been leading one of Asia's longest running separatist conflicts, dating to
shortly before India gained independence from Britain in 1947.
Assam's top police official blamed the string of attacks on two militant
groups - the United Liberation Front of Asom and the National Democratic
Front of Boroland.
Scientists: Volcanic eruption seems imminent
As scientists warned that an eruption of Mount St: Helens appeared immic
nent yesterday, eager tourists camped out along park roads, hoping to catch a
glimpse of the seething volcano without being overcome by ash and smoke.
A second long tremor early yesterday and an increase in volcanic gases strongly sug-
gest magma is moving inside, researchers.from. the U.S.GeologicaSurvey said..Th,.
mountain's alert was raised to Level 3, the highest possible, after a volcanic tremor was
detected Saturday for the first time since before the mountain's 1980 eruption.
"I don't think anyone now thinks this will stop with steam explosions,"'geologist Willie
Scott said yesterday at the Geological Survey's Cascades Volcano Observatory in Van-
couver, Wash., about 50 miles south.
At this point, scientists do not expect anything close to the devastation of the
May 18, 1980 explosion, which killed 57 people and coated much of the Northwest
with ash.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
The Michigan Daily (ISSN 0745-967) is published Mondays during the spring and summer terms
by students at the University of Michigan. Subscriptions for fall term, starting in September,
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