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>Israel Faxx
>PD Jan. 3, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 2

IDF Detains Friedman's Alleged Accomplice

By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)

American mediators tried to coordinate a summit Thursday between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Yasir Arafat, following Wednesday's shooting spree by an Israeli soldier in the West Bank city of Hebron. It is still unlikely the two will meet to initial the long-delayed agreement on Hebron.

The urgency of completing the long-delayed agreement on an Israeli pullback from Hebron was dramatically pointed up Wednesday, when an off-duty soldier opened fire in the crowded Hebron market, wounding six Palestinians. The soldier, an Orthodox Jew with a history of mental problems, said he was trying to stop the agreement. The quick action of an Israeli soldier who overpowered Noam Friedman while he was firing prevented an even worse disaster.

Israeli police now say Friedman had an accomplice -- another soldier who has been detained on suspicion of collusion and failing to prevent a crime.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators had been expected to conclude their accord on Hebron Wednesday, but a summit between the leaders was put off after the shooting. Although both Arafat and Netanyahu said the gunman would not achieve his aim of derailing the nearly completed agreement, there is still no meeting scheduled between the two leaders.

The key sticking point is said to be a timetable for an Israeli withdrawal from rural areas in the West Bank. But even when the agreement is ready, Netanyahu will only initial it, since he has promised to get Cabinet approval first before signing.

Several Cabinet ministers are threatening to vote against the agreement, which they say endangers the 400 Jewish settlers living in the heart of Hebron, where Islamic militants find strong support.

The Islamic Jihad has vowed to take revenge for Wednesday's market shooting. The Israeli army moved sizable forces into Hebron following the shooting to prevent possible revenge attacks. Military sources say the beefed-up troop presence will remain in Hebron until the redeployment.

Syria Blames Mossad for Bus Bombing

By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)

Syrian authorities have confirmed a New Year's eve bus bombing in Damascus and blamed it on Israeli agents. Israel denies the charge. The first official comment on the bus bombing says at least nine people were killed and at least 40 others injured. The blast occurred in a central bus station, apparently on a bus headed toward the northern city of Aleppo.

No group has claimed responsibility but there have been several attacks against Syrians in neighboring Lebanon where right-wing Christians oppose Syria's political domination there.

But Syria's news agency blames Israeli Mossad agents for the bombing. The statement quoting an unnamed government source says the terrorist action comes amid increased threats by a number of Israeli officials, who the statement says want to kill the peace process.

Israeli officials recently have warned of a possible war with Syria. Peace talks between the neighbors have been frozen for nearly a year. Syria is demanding the full return of the Golan Heights, which Israel seized in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

Nazi Guard Fires Gun at Kansas City Police

By Michael Leland (VOA-Chicago)

A man the Justice Department says is a former Nazi prison camp guard faces assault charges in Kansas. Police say the man fired shots at police and journalists shortly after the Justice Department made its accusation.

Police in Kansas City, Kan., say 79-year old Michael Kolnhofer stood on his front porch Tuesday afternoon, waving a gun and asking reporters and police outside if they were going to go away. They say he fired several shots before a police officer demanded Kolnhofer drop his weapon, then shot him in the leg. Kolnhofer is in the hospital, and no one else was injured in the incident.

This happened about 90-minutes after Justice Department officials filed papers in federal court seeking to strip Kolnhofer of his naturalized citizenship. The Justice Department cites captured Nazi records in accusing him of being a guard at two Nazi camps beginning in 1943. It says Kolnhofer did not mention his camp service when he emigrated to the United States in 1952, and would not have received a visa if he had disclosed the truth.

Since 1979, 57 former Nazis have been stripped of their US citizenship; 48 have been deported.

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