RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat asked the United States Friday to convene a Mideast peace conference as quickly as possible, while Israeli tanks raided Jenin, hometown of the latest Palestinian suicide bomber.
About 20 tanks rolled into Jenin, a stronghold of extremists at the northern edge of the West Bank, in what the Israeli military called a "routine patrol." Israeli forces declared a curfew in Jenin and five nearby villages, confining residents to their homes.
Israeli forces also patrolled the southern edge of Bethlehem Friday but did not enter the town, the military said. Palestinians said Israeli forces briefly entered the town of Tulkarem and arrested a female student. The operations were a response to a string of Palestinian attacks.
A teen-age bomber who blew up an Israeli bus with an explosives-laden car on Wednesday set out from Jenin. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility, but Israel blamed Arafat, charging that he has done nothing to stop the attacks.
Arafat, whose West Bank compound was assaulted by Israeli troops on Thursday in retaliation for the bus bombing, called for quick action regarding the conference.
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