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>Israel Faxx
>JN Nov. 2, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 181

New Tourism Minister Will Put Emphasis On Developing Jerusalem


Israel's new Tourism Minister Benny Elon said Thursday: "I plan to invest my efforts in three main areas: To concentrate on the Jewish market and bring international Jewry to Israel; to concentrate on Christians who love Israel; and to encourage internal tourism. I also want to place an emphasis on developing the city of Jerusalem and give it top priority."

FBI Hunting Suspected Terrorists Carrying Israeli Passports

By Israel Faxx Staff

The Knight-Ridder News Service reported Thursday that the FBI is conducting a manhunt for six men carrying Israeli passports who are suspected of plotting terror attacks in the United States.

The news agency said the men were released by the Immigration and Naturalization Service after having been under arrest. The six were arrested over the weekend in a Midwest state while traveling in two cars, and were found to have photographs and information about a Florida nuclear reactor and the Alaska pipeline.

Knight-Ridder said there are three nuclear reactors in Florida and that the six also had "suspicious equipment," including box-cutter knives similar to those used by the hijackers on September 11.

But the six, described as having Israeli passports and a "Middle Eastern look," were released after INS officials decided that their passports and visas were valid. According to the Miami Herald, the INS released the men without consulting the FBI - or reporting the arrests. When FBI director Robert Mueller heard about the incident, he was "furious."

However, the newspaper also quoted the INS as calling the report that it had allowed the release of the six "unconfirmed." And a spokesman for the company operating the Alaskan pipeline, which carries some 17 percent of all the oil in the U.S., said he did not know of any threat to the pipe.

An Israeli embassy spokesman in Washington said he knew about the affair from the newspaper, but American authorities had made no formal contact with the embassy about the matter.

Israel Launches More Strikes on Suspected Palestinian Militants

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

At least two suspected Palestinian militants are dead after an Israeli military strike Thursday in the West Bank. The attack came a day after Israel launched one of its largest military offensives in the territory, killing two Palestinians on its most wanted list of terrorists.

An Israeli helicopter gunship fired missiles at a taxi carrying several Palestinian militants near the West Bank city of Tulkarem. Palestinian officials said that at least two occupants of the taxi were killed in the attack. Israeli soldiers then reportedly closed in on the taxi and abducted one of the injured occupants.

Israeli army officials say they believe the two men killed were planning a suicide bombing in the Sharon region of Israel, north of Tel Aviv. Police in the Sharon area remain on high alert following intelligence warnings of possible suicide bombing attacks.

On Sunday, two members of the Islamic Jihad shot and killed four Israeli women in a main street of Hadera, a town in the heart of the Sharon region. The area is located not far from Jenin in the West Bank, a recruiting center for suicide bombers.

The Israeli army has launched a heavy blitz against the Islamic Jihad and Hamas, two militant groups that have carried out many attacks in Israel.

Earlier Thursday, Israeli undercover police backed by soldiers kidnapped a top Hamas activist, Omar Jabarin in the village of Beit Iba, near Nablus in the West Bank.

On Wednesday, Israeli troops killed six Palestinians in the West Bank, including a senior Hamas activist wanted for his part in organizing suicide bombings and the killing of Jewish settlers.

Blair Urges Israelis and Palestinians to Halt Violence

By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to bring an immediate halt to violence in order to pave the way for a return to peace negotiations.

After meeting with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Blair told reporters in Jerusalem that peace in the Middle East is important for the stability, security and future of the entire world.

The British prime minister said the current cycle of bloodshed has to stop. "All violence must stop. It is impossible to have a peace process succeeding while people are engaging in acts of violence," he said. "It is the responsibility of everyone to do all they can, all that is within their power to stop the acts of violence." Blair reiterated his support for a Palestinian state that recognizes Israel's right to peace and security.

Sharon has said Israel is ready to make what he called "painful compromises" in peace talks, but that no compromises will be made when it comes to Israel's security. "There is one thing where there is not going to be any compromise, not now and not in the future," he said. "When it comes to the lives or the security of the Israeli citizens, and the very existence of the state of Israel, here there will be no compromises."

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