bombings, as dozens of ambulances were heading towards a Tel Aviv restaurant which was rocked by what witnesses described as a huge explosion.
Israeli police said at least 29 had been injured and one – reportedly a 23-year old suicide bomber – was killed. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a militia linked to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the attack.
"Mr. Arafat has to do more" to halt the violence and Palestinian security forces had "got to do a much better job" of preventing suicide bombers from entering Israel, President Bush said shortly before the Tel Aviv blast. Meanwhile Christians in Jerusalem and other area’s have expressed concern about the escalating violence.
"An unmerciful spate of Palestinian terrorism has killed 30 Israelis and tourists in the first three days of Passover," noted the news service of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ). However ICEJ workers made clear they find hope in several bible verses such as "He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge" (Psalm 144:2) and "My time is at hand; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples" (Matthew 26:18).
As Christians prayed for peace, in Ramallah, Arafat remained confined to two rooms in his compound surrounded by Israeli tanks and apparently without water and electricity. Israel said the raid against Arafat is part of its own war on terror, and that it has discovered an arsenal of weapons while arresting several suspects.
Reuters Television showed the Palestinian leader in what appeared to be a dark room with candle light, surrounded by bodyguards. But an Israeli official suggested to MSNBC television that although "this looks very romantic" the Palestinian leader "had more light than a candle stick."
However Arafat’s aids said Saturday, March 30, that food is running low and batteries have run out for the mobile phone that was his only link to the world outside. As the violence continued, tensions increased between Israel and Arab countries.
"ACT OF WAR"
Egypt already described the Israeli raid as "an act of war". Middle East experts believe there are two parties within the Arab community; one that supports the Saudi land-for-peace proposal, the other that supports the suicide bombing.
It was not clear Saturday, March 30, which faction would win. Te United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that urged Israel to withdraw from all West Bank cities and called on both sides to move immediately towards a cease-fire.