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17 More Iraqi Jews Come, Only 11 Left


Seventeen more Jews from Iraq have landed in Israel - two families of seven people each and three singles that lived in the Kurdish areas. They left Iraq 10 days ago, crossed the border into Turkey, and boarded a plane for Israel in Istanbul.

Absorption Minister Tzippy Livni greeted them at Ben Gurion International Airport, and they will live at first in Be'er Sheva. Jewish Agency officials recently spent several weeks looking for Jews in Iraq, and found 34. Six of them made aliyah last month, thus that only 11 Jews remain in what was once, some 1,500 years ago, the Torah center of the world.

Palestinians Threaten Retribution for Israeli Strike

By VOA News

Palestinian terrorist groups are threatening swift and harsh retaliation against Israelis in response to Israel's Thursday killing of a senior Hamas leader in Gaza. The helicopter strike in Gaza City that killed the Hamas leader, and raids into West Bank Palestinian towns were apparent reprisals for Tuesday's suicide bus bombing that killed 20 people in Jerusalem.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad vowed revenge and announced an end to a self-declared ceasefire - already broken by three suicide bombings in the last 10 days. As the cycle of violence escalated, Secretary of State Colin Powell warned that Israel and the Palestinians could be headed off a cliff if they halt work on the so-called "road map" peace initiative.

Powell called for the international community and the Palestinian Authority to renew their efforts to stop militant groups from carrying out terror attacks. He warned of dire consequences if the international "road map" to an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord is scuttled. Powell said it was time that the Arab countries and other concerned parties "step up" and insist that the terrorism perpetrated by organizations such as Hamas comes to an end.

At his joint news conference with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York, the Secretary of State specifically urged Yasir Arafat to put security forces under his control at the disposal of Prime Minister Abbas in order to deal with the extremists who he said are determined to "blow up" the peace "road map."

Powell said the collapse of the "road map" would be "a cliff that both sides will fall off of" and said everyone must understand the consequences if that is allowed to happen. "The alternative is what? Just more death and destruction? Let the terrorists win? Let those who have no interest in a Palestinian state win? Let those who have no interest but killing innocent people win? No. That is not an acceptable outcome," he said. "And I think both parties realize it and I think both sides should recommit themselves to finding a way forward."

A missile fired from an Israeli helicopter killed Hamas leader Ismail Abu-Shanab and two bodyguards in their car in a residential area of Gaza. Witnesses said the bodies of Abu Shanab and his bodyguards were pulled from the burning wreckage of a car that was struck by several missiles as it drove near U.N. headquarters in Gaza City. A huge crowd of Hamas supporters converged on the scene, dipping their hands in the blood of the dead then shaking their fists vowing revenge.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas called the Hamas leader's assassination "an ugly crime" that would undermine peace efforts. And in Gaza, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets demanding revenge against Israel.

Abu Shanab joined Hamas shortly after its founding in 1987 and became well-known as a political leader within the group. He was regarded as a moderate in the organization and supported the now-abandoned ceasefire. Israel said Abu Shanab was involved in planning and ordering attacks on Israelis.

Israeli forces also carried out a series of incursions into West Bank cities Thursday to search for suspected Islamic militants. The Israeli actions came despite an appeal from Abbas to allow the Palestinian security forces to launch their own crackdown against Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, two groups that frequently carry out suicide bombings.

Earlier, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon issued a strong statement in support of Israeli military operations. The statement said there was no chance of peace efforts succeeding as long as the Palestinian Authority refused to take action against Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups.

Witnesses said the bodies of Ismail Abu Shanab and two of his bodyguards were pulled from the burning wreckage of a car that was struck by several missiles as it drove near U.N. headquarters in Gaza City.

Suicide Attack in Haifa - Thwarted Just in Time


It was announced Thursday that a suicide terrorist on his way to a major attack in Haifa was arrested only a few hours before the planned detonation.

The IDF and Shabak worked together to stop the Islamic Jihad terrorists on Tuesday, and their 22-pound explosive device was seized Wednesday. One of the three terrorists, and their operator, were former prisoners in Israeli jails.

Israeli Pilot's Helmet Found in Iraq


Thirty-six years after four Israeli air force pilots were shot down while on a flight mission in Iraq during the Six Day War, a helmet that may have belonged to one of the men, and which was on display in a Baghdad museum, was returned to Israel, Yediot Achronot reported.

On the third day of the Six Day War, June 7, 1967, Iraqi military forces shot down the planes of pilots Shlomo Keren, Alexander Metzger, Yitzhak Glanz and Gideon Dror while on a mission in Iraq. Keren and Metzger were killed while Glanz and Dror were captured and later released. The Air Force is investigating if the helmet discovered in the Baghdad museum belonged to one of the men.

U.S. military forces discovered the helmet next to a scrap of metal bearing the traditional blue Star of David insignia of the Israeli air force which may have been a piece of wreckage from one of the planes. The interior of the helmet displayed a sticker reading: "Pilot Helmet Model HGU/2A-P; Manufactured: 1966; Size: Large; Number 16631; Oz Plastics, Azor Industrial Area." It is thought that the Iraqis exhibited the helmet as an example of war plunder after defeating the Israeli pilots.

The helmet was transferred through the Israeli embassy in Jordan and when it arrived at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, it created a lot of excitement. "Holding something like this in your hands makes you shiver. You can actually see the blood stains," said a senior official. The helmet was then forwarded to the Ministry of Defense in Tel-Aviv and from there it will be transferred to the Missing In Action section of the Air Force to try to reveal the helmet's true owner.

The four pilots had been dispatched to attack the Iraqi air force base H-3 in western Iraq after Israeli intelligence learned that the Egyptians had asked the Iraqis to attack IDF bases in Ramat David and Hatzor. Four "Miraz" planes from the Air Force's first jet squadron escorted four "Wotor" planes from the "Northern Knights" squadron. Jordanian radar discovered the planes en route and alerted Iraqi forces. Iraqi "Hunter" planes awaited the Israeli aircraft and managed to severely disrupt the attack, shooting down two "Wotor" planes and one "Miraz" fighter.

Surviving pilot Gideon Dror, now 61-years-old and a pilot for Israel's El Al airlines, told Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot the discovery meant little to him. "I don't get sentimental about objects," he told the paper. "That period did not leave me with any memories, for better or for worse. In fact, it's been totally erased from my memory."

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