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>Israel Faxx
>JN March 24, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 54

Mafia Nuclear Weapons

By IINS News Service

Italian police posing as go-betweens for an unspecified Middle Eastern country have infiltrated a Mafia nuclear weapons ring and seized uranium of a type which could be used for nuclear weapons.

Recovered was a radioactive uranium rod weighing 22 pounds and measuring 27-inches in length, in a warehouse on the outskirts of Rome. Eight identical bars are now being sought in Italy.

Fourteen people have been arrested, including two gang members who were apprehended as they drove to Switzerland to collect the money from a bank. Two other people are being sought. Four Sicilians, including an associate of Benedetto "Nitto" Santapaola, the jailed Mafia godfather of Catania, eastern Sicily, were among those arrested.

Ross Returns to Middle East

By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Washington)

US envoy Dennis Ross heads back to the Middle East Wednesday to try again to jump start the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Ross will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority head Yasir Arafat

Israel's parliament complains Washington is trying to impose a plan on Israel to get the peace process back on track. But State Department spokesman Jim Foley says Washington respects Israel's right to make its own decisions. Washington has pressed Israel to give back more than 10 percent of lands in the West Bank to the Palestinians -- something Israel so far has refused to do.

Ross is expected to offer some proposals on how to get the peace talks restarted. But Foley refuses to offer any details of the plan ahead of time.

Kofi Annam Travels from Gaza to Israel

By Al Pessin (VOA-Gaza)

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan visits Israel Tuesday and Wednesday, and says he will urge Israeli leaders to implement UN resolutions related to Middle East peace. On Monday, Annan told Palestinian leaders he will do what he can to help push the peace process forward, but he cautions against expecting dramatic results like he achieved in Iraq last month. Still, the secretary general says he will have a message for Israeli leaders. "I will encourage and discuss with the Israeli authorities the implementation of Security Council resolutions and also discuss with them ways and means of moving the peace process forward."

Even so, Annan says the UN can not try to force Israel to comply, as it does with Iraq, because the resolutions involved are different. He urges both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to have the courage, vision and flexibility to make what he calls the kinds of compromises needed to move the process forward.

Prosecution Seeks Maximum Sentence in Rape Case

By IINS News Service

The state prosecutor is seeking a 35-year jail term for the son of an unnamed prominent Chasidic Rabbi from Bnei Brak area, after he was found guilty of rape.

The 40-year old resident of Jerusalem's Meah Shearim section was convicted by the Tel-Aviv District Court two weeks ago, of raping his niece repeatedly over nine years, since she was eight. The case was brought to the attention of police when the victim, now 20, filed a complaint with them.

She told police, that when she informed her uncle she would go to the police, he threatened to kill her. She also told the police, that when she told her uncle she was pregnant, in hopes of scaring him he said in response, "I hope you get pregnant. Then we will have to marry and leave the country."

The sentencing will take place on a later date.

Man Accused of Spying for Israel Found Guilty in Moscow

By IINS News Service

A Moscow military court sentenced a former military intelligence officer to three years in prison for selling secrets to Israel. The court found former Lt. Col. Vladimir Tkachenko, who worked for Russia's GRU military intelligence service, illegally sold aerial photographs to the Mossad, Itar-Tass news agency reported.

Kommersant Daily reported Tkachenko worked for a GRU unit authorized to sell low-resolution satellite photographs. But the court found that he sold sharper quality photos, which were classified as secret, of Israel and other Middle East countries.

The paper said the GRU began selling satellite photographs for as much as $2,000 or more per image in 1992, but it barred the sale of the highest-resolution images, that show extremely fine details of a landscape. Tkachenko said he did not know that the images he sold were classified as secret.

"Analyzer" is Interrogated

By IINS News Service

Computer hacker Ehud Tanenbaum, known as the "Analyzer," has been questioned by police and the FBI regarding his successful electronic infiltration into computers in the Pentagon. Police Department computer experts were present during Sunday's interrogation session, to assist FBI agents in understanding the technical aspects of the investigation.

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