Israel detains over 4,000 Palestinians

 

Israel has detained over 4,000 Palestinians in its West Bank offensive, according to the army.

The figure is nearly double that announced two days ago, indicating the growing intensity of its military campaign against Palestinian areas.

The Israeli Prime Minister Mr Ariel Sharon has warned Washington not to intervene and repeated his intention to continue the military campaign urging Washington, its main ally, not to pressurise Israel to end its "war of survival".

US Secretary of State Mr Colin Powell is due to arrive in Jerusalem later today and will meet Mr Sharon tomorrow and Palestinian leader Mr Yasser Arafat on Saturday.

The UN Security Council has endorsed calls for Israel's immediate withdrawal from Palestinian cities and for Mr Arafat to rein in terror attacks .

Mr Powell today told Israel its military operations against Palestinians in the West Bank would not eliminate the threat of terrorism. He said frustrations would remain among the Palestinian people that could only be addressed by talks.

Mr Powell said he spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon while in Madrid to discuss their meeting in Jerusalem tomorrow.

He said he talked to Sharon about Israeli withdrawals from two towns and 22 villages and said he would have a better idea of Sharon's long-term objections after the meeting.