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Made In Gaza
Jerusalem (JTA) — Palestinian
police have arrested some 30
Hamas activists in the southern
Gaza Strip, according to Pales-
tine Liberation Organization
leader Yassir Arafat.
Mr. Arafat announced the ar-
rests after a meeting with Israeli
Tourism Minister Uzi Baram in
Palestinian officials said one
of those arrested in the overnight
sweep was just hours away from
leaving for a suicide bombing mis-
sion in Tel Aviv.
"He had explosives and had
shaved his beard," PLO official
Sufayn Abu Zaide told Israel
Television, adding that the
Hamas member had "arranged
to travel to the central bus sta-
tion in Tel Aviv."
"He planned to blow himself
up at 3 a.m.", Mr. Zaide added.
The arrests, which resulted in
part from intelligence informa-
tion provided by Israel, came as
Palestinian security officials were
searching for Yehiya Ayash, ac-
cording to Israeli sources.
Mr. Ayash, known as "The En-
gineer" for his expertise with ex-
plosives, is a Hamas militant
believed to be the mastermind be-
hind several suicide bombings in
Israel perpetrated by Hamas.
Israel Radio quoted a Pales-
tinian police source as saying the
search for Ayash continues.
The announcement of the ar-
rests by the Palestinian police
came days after Israeli security
officials disclosed that they had
infiltrated Hamas cells in the
West Bank and had arrested
dozens of Hamas operatives there
and in eastern Jerusalem.
The arrests were described by
Israeli officials as dealing a se-
vere blow to Hamas' terror oper-
ations against Israeli soldiers and
Meanwhile, Israel eased the
closure it had imposed on the self-
rule enclave of Jericho in the
West Bank, allowing women,
children and men older than 35
The partial lifting of the clo-
sure came after hundreds of Jeri-
cho residents rioted at an army
roadblock at one of the entrances
to the city.
Demonstrators burned an Is-
raeli flag and hurled stones at Is-
raeli border police, injuring three
Israel sealed off Jericho from
the rest of the West Bank on Aug.
23, after Palestinian officials ar-
rested two members of the Is-
lamic fundamentalist Hamas
movement who had fled there.
They were believed to have
helped plan the Aug. 21 suicide
bombing of a bus in Jerusalem.
Israeli security sources said
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
had imposed the closure to pres-
sure the Palestinian Authority to
hand over the two Hamas mem-
bers, who were tried and sen-
tenced to jail terms by a
Palestinian military court in
Jerusalem (JTA) — Israel's at-
torney general has determined
that too much time has elapsed
to allow for the prosecution of Is-
raeli soldiers who may have been
involved in the alleged execution
of Egyptian prisoners of war.
Michael Ben-Yair, in a state-
ment issued by the Justice Min-
istry, called the alleged killings
of Egyptian POWs during the
1956 Sinai Campaign and the
1967 Six-Day War "unlawful and
But Israel's 20-year statute of
limitations for criminal acts had
expired, the attorney general
"As a result, there is no legal
possibility of bringing to trial any-
one involved in incidents that
took place almost 40 years ago,
of 28 years ago," Mr. Ben-Yair
said in the statement.
In a letter to Foreign Minister
Shimon Peres, Mr. Ben-Yair said
he had reached the decision after
reviewing appeals he had re-
ceived from public figures and cit-
izens calling for an investigation
into the incidents from both wars.
The controversy over the fate
of Egyptian POWs surfaced ear-
lier this month, when several Is-
raeli veterans and historians
came forward with claims that
they had witnessed or partici-
pated in the killings during the
1956 and 1967 wars.
An Israeli historian purported
that some 200 Israeli POWs had
been killed by Egyptian troops
during the 1973 Yom Kippur
The disclosures regarding the
1956 and 1967 wars prompted
Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak to call on Israel to in-
vestigate and prosecute those sol-
diers responsible for killing
Egyptian POWs. Mr. Mubarak,
interviewed on Israeli television,
said the investigations could pre-
vent a crisis between the two
He also said he was ready to
look into reports that Egyptian
soldiers had killed Israeli POWs.
"I am prepared to investigate
the reports about the murder of
Israeli soldiers," he said.