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                             ISRAEL
                              FAXX

Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       May 20, 1996 V4, #92
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Hizbullah Renews Attacks on Israel

By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)

Renewed fighting in southern Lebanon between Hizbullah terrorists and Israeli soldiers left at least two Hizbullah dead and a Lebanese civilian and two Israeli soldiers wounded. Hizbullah is charging Israel with violating the US mediated ceasefire accord which forbids targeting civilians.

Hizbullah leaders say Israel violated the ceasefire Sunday when Israel shelled suspected Hizbullah hideouts near the town of Nabatiyeh. A Lebanese woman suffered shrapnel wounds during the attack.

But Hizbullah also claims responsibility for the attack that provoked the Israeli shelling. The exchange of gunfire took place near the Israeli-held Beaufort Castle in the central area of Israel's self-declared security zone in southern Lebanon.

Hizbullah terrorists have been fighting to oust the Israeli military from the border area it has occupied since 1985.

Hamas Angry at Capture of Senior Terrorist

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli security forces in the West Bank town of Hebron have arrested a man they say was the second ranking leader of the military wing of the militant Hamas, and mastermind of three of the four recent suicide bombings.

From a distance of about 120 feet, an IDF Golani Brigade sergeant shot and seriously wounded Salameh, and subsequently captured another terrorist who accompanied him, Razik Abdullah Rajoub. The automobile that the two were driving contained handguns, rifles and hand grenades.

Salameh was arrested shortly afterward when he sought treatment for a gunshot wound at a local hospital.

Israeli opposition candidates have made the bombings an issue in the current election campaign, saying the government's peace policy is putting Israelis in danger. The opposition also opposes the government's plan to turn security in Hebron over to the Palestinian police.

Prime Minister Shimon Peres has accused the militants of planning more attacks during the election campaign to hurt his chances of re-election. But Friday, Hamas political leaders called for a halt in attacks, at least until after Israelis vote May 29.

The military wing of hamas threatened to carry out terror attacks to avenge the capture of Salameh who is in stable condition and under heavy guard at Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital.

The IDF has permitted Jibril Rajoub, brother of Razik and head of PLO security, to talk with the two terrorists. The Jewish residents of Hebron pointed out that had the IDF withdrawn from Hebron, the capture would not have been able to be carried out.

Netanyahu, Peres in Statistically Dead Heat

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

The weekly public opinion polls in Israel indicate Prime Minister Shimon Peres continues to hold a narrow lead over his principal challenger, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, of the conservative Likud Party. Voting for prime minister and the 120-member parliament is set for May 29.

Opinion polls published Friday in three Israeli newspapers give Peres a lead of between four and six percentage points. But the polls also have about a four point margin of error, and they indicate a growing number of undecided voters -- as many as 10 percent.

Peres and his peace policy have had about that same lead for several weeks now. His campaign is emphasizing security and promising a referendum on any major steps toward peace with Syria or the Palestinians. Netanyahu's campaign calls the current peace process a security failure, and promises a different version of peace with more security.

Israelis will vote directly for prime minister for the first time, and will cast a separate ballot for the party they want to represent them in parliament. In the past the parliament chose the prime minister. Neither Peres' Labor Party or Netanyahu's Likud is expected to gain a majority in parliament, leaving the winner to forge a coalition with smaller parties of the left or right, plus a new immigrant party and possibly including parties representing religious Jews or Israeli Arabs.

Israel's First Communications Satellite Successfully Launched

"Amos," Israel's first communications satellite was successfully launched in French Guiana last Thursday at 4:56 a.m., Israel time.

Twenty-five minutes following the liftoff, "Amos" separated from the launch rocket. Control room personnel burst into applause, and the launch commander congratulated Israel on the excellent performance in its first satellite launching.

The launching of Amos into space places Israel into a group of eight countries with communications satellites in space. The Amos project cost $200 million and the satellite is expected to remain operable for 10 years.


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