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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      April 13, 1995, V3, #68
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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FBI will Investigate American's Death

By Ron Pemstein (Washington)

The United States is sending a team from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to Gaza to take part in the search for the people who planned the suicide bombings Sunday in which an American woman was killed. If anyone is arrested, they could be prosecuted in the US.

The State Department says it is appropriate for the FBI to work alongside Israeli and Palestinian authorities in investigating the suicide bombings in Gaza last weekend. Spokesman Nicholas Burns notes that an American citizen was killed and three US citizens were wounded in the attacks that also killed seven Israeli soldiers.

"These people from the FBI will work alongside Israeli and Palestinian authorities. The justification for this and the rationale of course is that there is a statute on the books, the so-called Long Arm Statute since 1986, that allows the United States and indeed asks the United States to investigate crimes against American citizens and allows us to prosecute people in United States courts."

It is too early to say if the Palestinian Authority in Gaza will allow the US to prosecute any suspects if any are found.

Crackdown Continues in Gaza Strip

By Patricia Golan (Jerusalem)

In the PLO-controlled Gaza Strip, Palestinian police have been continuing their crackdown on Islamic militant opponents. The arrests follow the killing of seven Israelis and an American woman in suicide bomb attacks on Sunday. Tensions in Gaza remain high, but both sides have rejected assessments that a civil war is looming.

Security forces in Gaza have arrested at least 200 suspected supporters of the militant Islamic Jihad and Hamas organizations since Sunday's suicide car bomb attacks inside the Gaza Strip in which the eight people were killed. Most of the men arrested so far have been political leaders of the Islamic groups responsible for the bombings, but members of the military wings of these organizations have gone into hiding.

In past such round-ups, detainees were quickly released, but this time the Palestinian Authority appears determined to bring the Islamic opponents under control.

On Tuesday, PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat announced his intention to disarm the militant groups. On Wednesday, the justice minister of the Palestinian self-rule government, Freih abu Medein, has begun a gun registration drive, setting a deadline of one month to hand in all illegal weapons.

Jamal Omar, a Palestinian journalist in Gaza, calls the situation very tense. "They are putting more pressures on Islamic Jihad and Hamas to stop their military wing, but I don't know if they are going to succeed in this or not ... There is no specific number for the detainees now, but it is the most intensive campaign since the coming of the Palestinian Authority and the most serious one this time."

This week, the special military tribunal set up by the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip passed its first sentences, one of them a life prison term for an Islamic Jihad activist. He was convicted, among other offenses, of persuading young teenagers to carry out suicide attacks.

The mother of the convicted man says the Israelis put Palestinians in jail, but Arafat must not. She says the Islamic Jihad says Arafat's actions will result in a civil war. But this is rejected by Palestinian Authority Minister Nabil Shaath:

"The Palestinian Authority is arresting people, is taking them to court, is taking away arms, and is doing that within the confines of the law. We don't want to anything that violates people's human rights, but we are very serious in stopping this violence."

Israel Radio quotes senior Israeli army officers as saying that Israel has no plans to go back into the Gaza Strip. The officers were reacting to a demand by six members of parliament from the ruling Labor Party that Israel send forces back into the Gaza Strip to root out militant strongholds.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin told a Labor Party caucus meeting Wednesday that Israel itself has been unable to capture all the underground cells in territories it still controls.

Since taking over control of the Gaza Strip last summer, Arafat has been under great pressure from the American administration and the Israeli government to disarm his opponents.

Negotiations are underway for expanding Palestinian self-rule to the West Bank, but with successive suicide bombings and Israeli deaths, chances for the peace process going any further have dwindled. Observers say Arafat knows the only way to move politically and expand self-rule is by keeping his opponents from carrying out further attacks.

Tight Closure of Territories Recommended for Passover

Police Commissioner Lt. General Assaf Hefetz is recommending a tightening of the closure over the territories in advance of the Passover holiday, which begins Friday. The police are reportedly on high alert, and have canceled vacations and extended shifts. Police plans call for an increased presence at public markets and synagogues.

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