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>Israel Faxx
>JN Aug. 4, 1997. Vol. 5, No. 141

New Law Provides for Shared Maternity Leave

A new Israeli law allows parents to share maternity leave equally. Maternity leave in Israel lasts for three months, and the new law states that if a mother chooses to return to work after six weeks, the father may leave work for the following six weeks to care for the newborn.

Israel Remains on Alert for Terrorist Activity

By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel -- on alert for more suicide bombings -- has tightened its already tough blockade on Palestinian areas, and beefed-up security throughout the country. The measures follow a demand by the Islamic militant group "Hamas," which claimed responsibility for Wednesday's double suicide bombing that killed 15 in a Jerusalem market.

A leaflet issued in the name of Hamas demanded that Israel free all Palestinian prisoners by Sunday night. It did not say what would happen if Israel refused. Israel has not announced plans to free anyone. And although some Hamas leaders and Israeli officials doubt the leaflet's authenticity, security services are leaving nothing to chance.

Extra soldiers and police have been deployed in major cities, and the population warned to be particularly vigilant. Jerusalem police Sunday were flooded with reports of suspicious objects. Bomb squads responding to calls caused traffic jams throughout the city.

Israel suspended already-dormant peace talks with the Palestinians as a result of the bombing and sealed off the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Long lines of cars wait at roadblocks leading into Jerusalem, as soldiers check all vehicles.

In the last few days, Israeli troops have arrested 116 Palestinians in the West Bank suspected of involvement in Islamic militant groups.

Hamas Denies Involvement with Subway Bombers

By Victor Beattie (VOA-Washington) & IINS News Service

The radical Palestinian group "Hamas" has denied any involvement in an alleged plot to bomb New York's subway system. US law enforcement officials say the suspects in custody made telephone calls to Hamas which has violently opposed peacemaking efforts between Arabs and Israelis.

Hamas denied any link to the detainees who are charged with conspiracy and possession of explosives. Hamas spokesman Ismail abu Schnap says the group refuses any attacks outside Palestine: "Hamas is a freedom fighter movement inside Palestine and its struggle concentrates only on Palestinian land."

Another spokesman, Mahmud Zahar, says Hamas' Jihad, or holy war, is aimed at what it calls the Zionist enemy. Zahar says Hamas condemns the United States' bias toward Israel, but does not make enemies of the American people: "We have no policy at all to attack any American target."

A federal law enforcement source in Washington told the Associated Press that both suspects have been linked to Hamas by intelligence sources or through an application for asylum in the United States.

However, the head of the New York FBI office, James Kallstrom, says it is totally wrong to say that the suspects are connected to and directed by Hamas which claimed responsibility for Wednesday's double-suicide bombing in Jerusalem's Central Market.

According to experts in NYC, had the bombs been detonated, they would most certainly have killed anyone within a 25-foot closed radius. The two suspects in the conspiracy to blow up a NYC subway both hold Jordanian passports.

Following recommendations by the NYC Police Department to increase security for potential Jewish targets such as synagogues, Myrna Schinbaum, a spokeswoman for the Anti-Defamation League, said the organization would maintain its own security measures and expected increased police patrols outside its offices and at other Jewish institutions.

An Emergency Response & Research Institute (ERRI) computer-generated terrorist threat analysis indicated the likelihood of a terrorist attack against the United States, or her allies, has substantially increased in the past few days.

According to Clark Staten, ERRI executive director, said that counter-terrorism experts in some localities are already taking such threats seriously, as indicated by stepped up security measures in New York City.

"According to NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani, high risk targets like public buildings, synagogues, embassies, trains and buses, and other highly-visible, symbolic, places are reportedly being given additional scrutiny by police and security agents in coming days.

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