RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Palestinian President Yasser Arafat said Wednesday that he opposed attacks on Israeli civilians, amid calls by militants to avenge the killing of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
“I am against any attacks on civilians, on Israeli civilians and Palestinian civilians. We want peace and we seek peace in the land of peace, the holy land,” Arafat told reporters at his battered headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah.
Arafat has frequently denounced Palestinian bombings inside Israel but has avoided condemning attacks on Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, whom many Palestinians consider part of Israel’s military occupation.
The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, within Arafat’s Fatah Movement, have joined other Palestinian militant groups in calling for bloody revenge over the assassination of Yassin in Gaza Monday.
Arafat has declared three days of mourning for Yassin.