Israeli Soldiers Take PLO Offices

A police spokesman said, ”The closure of the offices was carried out by an order from the political ranks.” Seven Palestinian officials were taken for questioning.

Israeli forces arrested two guards at the PLO’s Orient House location and were searching the offices of the compound, a frequent site of foreign diplomatic visits.

Palestinian lawmaker Hatem Abdel-Qader said the closings were “a dangerous measure.”

“We will defend these institutions in Jerusalem and Israel is mistaken by thinking that by occupying certain institutions in Jerusalem it will Judaise this occupied city,” he said.

Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in a 1967 war and views the entire city as its capital. Palestinians claim the eastern sector as a capital of a future state and Orient House has served as a Palestinian headquarters in the city.

Israeli troops also stormed the home of the governor of Abu Dis, a Palestinian village on the edge of East Jerusalem, and took over nearby houses they said served as command centers for various Palestinian security services.

Meanwhile, in the West Bank, Palestinians say Israeli warplanes attacked a Palestinian police post. According to Palestinian security forces, Israeli F-16 fighter jets fired two missiles at a Palestinian police station in the city of Ramallah.

The police station, a headquarters for Palestinian police forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, burst into flames but there was no immediate word of any casualties.

Up to now, Israeli retaliation for Palestinian attacks was confined to tank and helicopter attacks on Palestinian police positions.

“We are in a war,” Jerusalem’s Mayor Ehud Olmert said after Thursday’s blast. “We will act together with the government of Israel to reach every one of those who is responsible for terror, to hit them and kill them.”

Some Israeli officials put the overall death toll in Thursday’s suicide bombing as high as 18, but Israeli police say they can confirm only 15 dead. Most of the dead were Israelis, but police said an American, Judith Greenbaum, and a Brazilian were among those killed.

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