Crackdown Meets Angry Resistance

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip?Yasser Arafat’s intensified crackdown on Islamic militants met angry resistance on his own territory Thursday, as 1,500 Hamas supporters battled Palestinian riot police for hours outside the home of the group’s leader. One Hamas supporter died in an exchange of fire.

The backlash came as a U.S. envoy and the Egyptian foreign minister shuttled between Israel and the Palestinian territories, trying to stop more than a year of Palestinian-Israeli violence and bring about a truce.

Arafat faces pressure from the United States and the threat of renewed military strikes by Israel if he fails to stop militants who have carried out a wave of deadly attacks against Israelis.

Though Arafat said his forces have arrested 180 militants, Israeli officials said the leaders of violent groups remain at large.

“Very few of the people arrested were important,” said Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer.