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NEWS: Arafat Fortifies Compound, Fearing Israel Will Try to Capture Him

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posted on May, 6 2004 @ 09:49 PM
Yasser Arafat has reinforced his compound with concrete barrells and wrecked cars. Arafat fears that Israel will attempt to capture or assassinate him, but he vows to go down fighting. Arafat has been confined to his compound for more than two years now. Israel's Sharon said last month he is no longer bound by a promise to President Bush not to harm Arafat. The threat raised speculation that Israel might target Arafat, who is accused of backing Palestinian militants.

Arafat Fortifies Compound, Fearing Israel Will Try to Capture Him
Arafat's aides would not say what spooked the Palestinian leader.

However, he has become increasingly jittery since Israel assassinated Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin in March. Yassin had widely been considered immune, with Palestinians assuming Israel would be held back by concern about a bloody backlash. After Israel killed Yassin - and Hamas failed to carry out a major revenge attack - Arafat increasingly feared he might be next, his aides said.

Israeli jeeps drive close to Arafat's compound from time to time, and sometimes park outside for hours. Recent visitors to Arafat's compound said he asked them on arrival whether they had seen Israeli jeeps in the vicinity. "They usually come after midnight. Today, they came early," Arafat was quoted as saying.

Arafat said he wouldn't go down without a fight. "I am going to enter this battle with my gun by my side," a visitor quoted Arafat as saying Wednesday over a supper of salads and cooked vegetables. "I will resist until I become a martyr."

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[Edited on 5-6-2004 by worldwatcher]

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