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>JN Oct. 13, 1997. Vol. 5, No 186
Israel Committee Investigates Bungled Assassination Attempt
By Mark Lavie (VOA-Tel-Aviv)
The Israeli committee investigating Israel's bungled
assassination attempt in Jordan began its work Sunday. A Jordanian
official says his country has stopped intelligence cooperation with
Israel over the affair. The committee appointed by Israel's Cabinet
began its work in secret at a military installation. An Israeli
government spokesperson said the committee would start taking
testimony from witnesses.
The committee sets its own guidelines. It will decide whether it
will look into only the failure of the operation or also into the
role of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in approving
The target of the attack two-weeks ago was the political secretary
of Hamas, the extremist group behind two recent suicide bombing
attacks in Jerusalem. Netanyahu appealed for public support
Speaking in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said, "We must remember that unity
is the basic asset of our existence. We must remain united in the
struggle against terrorism."
The bungled mission to kill a Hamas leader led instead to Jordan's
demanding and receiving the release from an Israeli prison of the
founder of the Hamas extremists, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. He returned
triumphantly to Gaza last Monday. Twenty-two other Palestinian
prisoners were also released but there's been no huge outcry in
Israel. Polls show most people here support Israel's going after
leaders of terrorist groups, even in friendly countries. But many
here are concerned about the damage the affair has caused to
Israel's relations with Jordan, one of only two Arab countries at
peace with Israel.
Jordan has cut off security cooperation with Israel, according to
a senior Jordanian official. He said Jordan will not trade
information with Israel until the Israelis involved in the bungled
assassination mission are dismissed.
Asked if this includes the head of the Mossad secret service and
Netanyahu, the Jordanian official said, "No comment."
Reports in Israel say Jordan expelled all the agents in the Mossad
mission in Jordan. Israel and Jordan have traded intelligence for
decades about their common enemy -- extremist Palestinian groups.
They threaten the moderate regime of Jordan's King Hussein as much
as they threaten Israel.
Despite the tough Jordanian position, cooperation continues on the
ground. Israel chased down and killed an infiltrator from Jordan
Friday. He was armed with a knife. The Israelis say information
from Jordan led them to the infiltrator. But the more important
intelligence cooperation between Israel and Jordan on higher levels
-- about plans and operations of extremist groups -- appears to be
one of the main casualties of the bungled Israeli mission in
Russia Says It Foiled Iranian Attempt to Buy Missile Technology
By IINS News Service
Moscow -- Russia's security services said that Iran tried to
obtain missile technology from Russian companies, while insisting
that all such attempts have been thwarted, the Associated Press
Israel's TV Channel Two said it had obtained evidence that the
Russian government was helping Iran develop long-range missiles
that could reach Israel, although Russia repeatedly denied the
report. Russia acknowledged for the first time that Iran had tried
to get missile technology, mentioning an attempt earlier this year
to have the Russian company NPO Trud build components for missile
engines, disguised as equipment for gas compressor stations, AP
said, citing a statement by a Federal Security Service spokesman.
Israel and the US have accused Iran of sponsoring international
terrorism and of attempting to construct long-range missiles and
nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies.
50 Years of Aliyah to Israel
In light of the collapse of the central planning committee for
Israel's jubilee celebrations, at least two government ministries
are planning their own festivities. The Ministry of Absorption is
planning dozens of different events featuring the subject of
immigration to Israel.
The Ministry is planning a central event in a city with an
immigrant population of at least 25%, an international seminar on
the topic of aliyah, a song festival for children of olim,
exhibitions, and more. The Education Ministry is also planning
alternative events of its own to commemorate the 50th anniversary
of the founding of the State.
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