The Palestinian extremist organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad both claimed responsibility for a series of weekend suicide bombings in Jerusalem and the northern Israel city of Haifa that killed at least 25 people and hurt more than 150 others. Two other Palestinians infiltrated a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip and fired on passing vehicles, killing another Israeli before being shot dead themselves by soldiers. Another Israeli was wounded critically in a similar attack in the West Bank. The violence drew almost universal international condemnation. (Story, page 1.)
The Palestinian Authority declared a "state of full alert" and gave its security forces new powers to seize militants and ban all public displays of weapons. But senior Palestinians also said such "radical and drastic steps" would be effective only if Israel did not "foil" them by carrying out new incursions into Palestinian-controlled areas or conducting targeted killings of militant leaders.
In Washington, President Bush moved up his meeting with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon by a day so the latter could fly home to direct Israel's response to the attacks, which his aides said would be "commensurate." The first move: encircling Palestinian cities in the West Bank "because of numerous warnings of future attacks." All Israeli ambassadors also were summoned back to Jerusalem by Foreign Minister Shimon Peres for consultations. Special US envoy Anthony Zinni, in the region to try to promote a new cease-fire, was jeered by furious Israelis (above) as he went to the site of the suicide bombings in Jerusalem to lay a wreath in memory of the victims.
The draft of a deal for a power-sharing council that would rule Afghanistan for six months was under consideration by delegates to the UN-sponsored conference in Germany. But the 25 to 28 people who would compose the interim authority had yet to be announced as the Monitor went to press, although reports said neither exiled King Mohamad Zahir Shah nor Northern Alliance chief Burhanuddin Rabbani would head it.
Five decades of control over Taiwan's legislature by the Nationalist Party ended in weekend elections that made President Chen Shui-bian's Demo- cratic Progressives (DPP) the largest block. But the vote left the DPP 22 seats short of a majority, and the Nationalists - with 68 seats - were refusing to join a coalition government as the Monitor went to press.
Tens of thousands of people flocked to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo to sign books of congratulation, and dozens of ships in Yokohama harbor sent fountains of red- and white-tinted water high into the air in celebration at the birth Saturday of a daughter to Crown Prince Naruhito and Princess Masako. But the arrival of the child - their first - also revived debate over changing Japan's strict law of succession to the Chrysanthemum Throne, which is limited to male children. No boys have been born into the royal family since Nahurito's brother, Prince Akishino, in 1965. (Editorial, page 10.)