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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Israeli Tanks Roll Into West Bank

Aired June 18, 2002 - 15:47   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We do have breaking news out of the Middle East. We are told that IDF, Israeli Defense Force, tanks are rolling into the area of Jenin.

We have our Matthew Chance on the phone right now to tell us as much as he can -- Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kyra. That's right, the details of this latest military operation, which obviously comes in response to the suicide bombing in the south of Jerusalem earlier on today.

The latest details are a bit sketchy, but what we do know is that the town of Jenin has been the subject of another military incursion by the Israeli Defense Forces.

The reports trickling out tell us that between 18 -- or rather 15 and 18 tanks and armored personnel carriers, so quite heavy Israeli armor, have moved into areas near the close -- near t he center, rather, of Jenin. Those tanks, we're told, have been backed by helicopter gunships. F-16 warplanes are said to have been spotted or heard flying in the skies overhead, although we're told that they have not carried out any strikes as yet on targets inside Jenin.

We are told that the tanks entered from three different directions, and have taken up positions outside key installations at road junctions inside Jenin itself. This latest incursion comes, what appears to be a response to the suicide bombing I mentioned earlier in the south of Jerusalem. There's a lot of Palestinians across the West Bank.

I'm talking to you here from Ramallah, anticipating, very concerned about what the coming hours will bring as far as they're concerned, too.

PHILLIPS: Now Matthew, it wasn't long that we were covering for a long time the situation in the refugee camp in Jenin, the Israeli Defense Forces coming in there. As you know, there was so much controversy on whether that incursion should have happened, lots of talk that this was an area that harbored terrorists.

Is that what the talk is now, that they believe that terrorists are still being harbored in this area and, therefore, this is why they're coming into the same area again? CHANCE: Well, the Israeli Defense Forces, the Israeli army have been conducting a policy of going in, incursions into these areas that they say terrorists are active. They say they're cracking down on what they call a terrorist infrastructure which they say operates in towns like Jenin and Ramallah and Bethlehem and places across the West Bank. And so we have been seeing these regular military operations in there to crack down on that terrorist infrastructure.

The fact is, though, that the suicide bombs, as we witnessed today in Jerusalem, haven't stopped altogether, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, our Matthew Chance live in Ramallah with the latest there in Jenin -- thank you, Matthew.

We'll continue to follow this breaking news story as it develops.

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