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>PD Nov. 27, 1996. Vol. 4, No. 216

World Jewry Seeks Holocaust Gold from Swiss Banks

The World Jewish Congress has made plans to launch an "attack" on Swiss bank secrecy in search of the unclaimed wealth of Holocaust victims. Former U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker, who heads a commission probing Swiss banks' cooperation with the Nazis in World War II, briefed a WJC meeting in Oslo the commission's strategy. The preliminary search is expected to last six months and will be followed up by an entire audit of 450 Swiss banks that will take another 12 months.

Fourth Israeli Identified in Comoros

By Sonya Laurence Green (VOA-Nairobi) and Arutz-7 News

A fourth Israeli victim of Saturday's crash of the hijacked Ethiopian airliner was identified Tuesday. He is Gadi Levy, a manager at Israel Aviation Industries. Two other senior employees of IAI, victims of the crash, were identified yesterday: Shraga Bar-Nissan, 50, of Carmei Yosef, and Amram Ben-David, 46, of Netanya.

Yaakov Braun, 30, a student from Tel Aviv also perished in the crash landing. Three other Israelis who were aboard the plane are still unaccounted for. Lior Fuchs, the only Israeli survivor, returned to Israel, and efforts are being made to fly the bodies of the four deceased back to Israel via Nairobi.

Ethiopian authorities say two men suspected of hijacking an Ethiopian airliner that crashed off the Comoros Islands may not be the hijackers. Nevertheless, police in the Comoros are keeping the pair in custody until investigations into the crash -- which killed more than 120 people -- are complete.

The head of Ethiopia's investigation team, Guetachew Assefa, said the three men who hijacked Flight 961 died in the crash, and the two men held by Comoran police had nothing to do with the crime. He said the hijackers were Ethiopians, while the suspects are from Kenya and Djibouti.

Confusion about the hijackers may stem from the fact they spread out in the airplane, and held the pilot and co-pilot separately while threatening passengers. That may make it difficult for any one survivor to identify all three hijackers. According to various survivors' reports, the men spoke English, French and the Ethiopian language of Amharic. Judging from appearance, some guessed the hijackers might have been from Ethiopia, Djibouti or Somalia.

After the crash, the two suspects were arrested when surviving passengers, recovering at a local hospital, pointed them out as hijackers. But, the pilot and co-pilot, who also lived through the crash, have not agreed on an identification. Co-pilot Yonas Mekuria, taken to see the men, said he did not recognize them, nor did he find them among some of the dead at a makeshift morgue.

The hijackers' motive remains unclear, but pilot Leul Abate said they told him they -- wanted to make history. Even though he told them the aircraft was running out of fuel, they refused to let him land at an airport in the Comoros. In the end, the pilot tried to ditch the plane in the water. It bounced, then cartwheeled before breaking into pieces.

Salvage workers tried Tuesday to free the last bodies from parts of the airliner wreckage, still partly submerged in the shallow azure waters near a beach resort. The French News Agency said a Comoran volunteer diver died while trying to help extricate some of the crash victims. Police have cordoned off the area, and had to keep away onlookers and souvenir hunters interested in the grisly scene.

Identification of bodies continued Tuesday. Passengers on the ill-fated jetliner came from 35 countries. Comoran government leaders reportedly met with airline officials, hotel staff near the crash site, and others to discuss how to send the bodies to their home countries. The operation has run into problems, including a lack of coffins on the island to transport the deceased.

Netanyahu Visits Settlers on West Bank

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Tuesday, made his first visit to an Israeli settlement since his election in May. The visit came at a time when Palestinian leaders are particularly upset about Netanyahu's plans to expand settlements in areas the Palestinians want to be under their control.

In ordinary times, it would have been a routine visit for an Israeli prime minister to the large Ariel settlement on the West Bank. But with Palestinian leaders saying Netanyahu's settlement policy could destroy the peace process, the prime minister faced questions about whether he might not be talking peace, but working against it. Not surprisingly, standing on the barren hills just outside Ariel, he was undeterred.

"People live here. They haven't lived here for thousands of years. Look at these hills. Are we depriving anyone of anything? It's barren land. You know what? If we hadn't come here, it would have stayed that way for another 2,000 years."

Netanyahu is diverting government funds to expand West Bank settlements like Ariel. And he says he might start some new ones.

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