GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – After a lull in attacks, Israel launched retaliatory strikes against Palestinian targets in Gaza with a missile raid on a security compound Saturday and a bombing attack the day before that left 20 people wounded.
Saturday's pre-dawn attack came after U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni brokered a meeting between top Israeli and Palestinian security officials in an effort to quell the crisis set off by suicide bombings in Jerusalem and Haifa that killed 25 people last weekend.
Palestinian security officials said two helicopters fired nine missiles into buildings belonging to Yasser Arafat's personal guard, known as Force 17, and the Palestinian military intelligence service.
The Israeli missiles blew large holes in the roofs of the buildings and toppled some walls in the compound in the Rafah refugee camp, witnesses said. There were no immediate reports of injury.
The Israeli army said the raid was in response to a mortar attack on Friday against Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported.
An F-16 bombing attack Friday destroyed a Gaza police compound. At least 20 people, mainly police were injured, but none with life-threatening wounds. Also Friday, two Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli troops in the West Bank.
The attacks Friday and Saturday came after a two-day lull in Israeli retaliation for last weekend's suicide bombings. Arafat has been under intense Israeli and American pressure to arrest militants suspected by Israel of involvement in the bombings and other attacks.
The Palestinian leader claims he's arrested 180 Islamic militants in a crackdown that began last weekend. He told Channel One that Palestinian police near the West Bank town of Jenin had arrested 17 of the 33 people on a wanted list given to him by Zinni.
But both nations have expressed skepticism. United States said those detained will probably be released as part of a Palestinian "revolving door" policy.
Zinni tried during a security meeting in Tel Aviv on Friday to bring both sides' security leaders closer to a cease-fire in the 14 months of violence.
"The discussion was constructive and focused on security, specifically practical steps to combat terror and violence," the U.S. Embassy said in a statement.
An Israeli security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Israel had demanded Arafat wage a more effective fight against terrorists and stop those firing mortars at Jewish villages.
Israel said it would halt its military strikes when the attacks stop, the source said. Friday's meeting did not produce any agreement, but Israel agreed to an American request for another session next week.
A Palestinian official said his side had reiterated its view that Israeli strikes and a clampdown on movement into and out of the Palestinian territories were hindering efforts to capture terrorists. He said the next meeting would be Sunday.
The security talks opened hours after Israel ended a two-day pause in military action, which officials said was meant to give Arafat a chance to broaden his crackdown on Islamic militants.
Angered that the United States has not criticized Israel for the military action, Arafat accused the Americans of a pro-Israel bias in an interview Friday with Israeli television.
Arafat was visibly irritated when asked about the American pressure.
"Dear God, who cares about the Americans?" Arafat said on Israel's Channel One television.
"The Americans are on your side and they give you everything. Who gives you airplanes? The Americans," he said, referring to the $2.7 billion in annual aid Israel receives from the United States.
When the interviewer attempted to ask Arafat about Zinni's diplomatic efforts, Arafat cut him off, saying, "Don't talk to me about the Americans."
In Gaza City on Friday, demonstrators briefly scuffled with Palestinian police during a funeral for a Hamas supporter killed a day earlier at a violent protest against Arafat's decision to place Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin under house arrest.
Police withdrew earlier from the area around Yassin's house after the government reached an agreement under which he agreed to remain in his house and refrain from giving interviews, a Palestinian security official said.