Today's Paper

Suicide attacks suspended

JERUSALEM, DEC. 22. The militant Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad said they had suspended suicide attacks against Israel until further notice, helping to ease mounting strains within the Palestinian Authority.

The show of solidarity seemed to be aimed at halting increasingly bloody fighting between the Palestinian police and militants, which reached a climax on Friday when six persons were killed and over 80 injured in a gunbattle in Gaza.

Israel expressed scepticism, dismissing the statements as a ploy to ease pressure on Mr. Arafat.

Meanwhile, a senior official of the Islamic Jihad denied today that the group was considering a halt to suicide bombings in Israel despite a decision by its larger rival, Hamas, to do so. ``There is no change in our position; we hold on to the position declared yesterday,'' the Jihad representative in Lebanon, Abu Imad al-Rifai, said.

- Reuters, AFP