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Waqf Employees Temporarily Banned from Temple Mount

By IsraelNationalNews.com

The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Tuesday banned two Waqf employees from the Temple Mount for two months. They were involved in unrests on Monday as they attempted to keep Jews and other non-Muslim visitors off the holy site. The two were then released from custody on NIS 5,000 each. A court decision is still pending on the third Waqf employee taken into police custody Tuesday morning. Waqf officials said if Israeli police continue to allow Jews to enter the area there could be an explosion of violence.


Israeli Attack Kills 1, Wounds Dozens in Gaza

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli helicopter gunships fired missiles at Hamas activists north of Gaza City Tuesday, killing at least one bystander and wounding 26 others. Officials said the target of the Israeli missile strike was a vehicle carrying a fugitive of Hamas. The wanted Hamas member and at least two others are reported to have fled before the missiles struck, and escaped injury.

One resident said the car's occupants jumped out and ran in different directions after one rocket hit near the front of the vehicle. A 65-year-old Palestinian is reported to have been killed when the missiles hit close to the sidewalk, outside his water pipe shop. Several children were also wounded, including an eight-year-old boy who was said to be in a critical condition.

The operation, near the Jabalya refugee camp, was the third of its kind in less than a week in Gaza, in retaliation for a Hamas suicide bombing in Jerusalem that killed 21 Israelis. Palestinian residents said Israeli F-16 fighter planes were also spotted in the skies over the Gaza Strip at the time of the missile attack. Earlier, an Israeli gunboat shelled an area north of Gaza City.

The strike by Israeli helicopters comes just two days after Israel carried out a similar operation; killing four members of the Hamas military wing in Gaza. Late Thursday, Israel also assassinated Hamas leader Ismail Abu Shanab in Gaza City. In response, Hamas announced an end to a unilateral ceasefire and vowed revenge, saying that Israeli cities would be flowing with rivers of blood.

Most of the Hamas leaders have gone into hiding, after Israel pledged to hunt them down, along with activists in the Islamic Jihad, another Palestinian group that has carried out numerous suicide bombing operations.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas condemned the helicopter strike. He said there was no military solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and that Israel's policy of assassinating militants would only escalate violence. Israel has said that every Hamas militant is a potential target for what it calls "liquidation."

Earlier Tuesday, Abbas said Israel was inciting more violence by allowing what he called "Jewish extremists" to visit a flashpoint holy site in Jerusalem, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif. The current Palestinian uprising began in September 2000, after a visit to the site by Ariel Sharon, then the Israeli opposition leader, now prime minister.


Israel Seizes 2 Wounded Palestinians in Raid on West Bank Hospital

By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli soldiers have raided a hospital in the West Bank town of Nablus, seizing two wounded Palestinian militants suspected of planning attacks against Israelis. Palestinian officials said the two men were snatched from their hospital beds in a pre-dawn raid. Witnesses said Israeli troops in plain clothes entered the hospital's intensive care unit, seized the men and took them away in military ambulances.

The men were being treated at the hospital for gunshot wounds received in a gunbattle with Israeli troops last week. A third militant was killed in the firefight, which took place on the hospital roof. Israel said the men are members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant group associated with Yasir Arafat's Fatah movement. Israel accused them of helping plan several attacks against Israelis, including a suicide bombing on August 12.

The Israeli government has said it is cracking down on Palestinian militants because the Palestinian Authority has not done enough to combat terrorism.


Israel Prepares for Possible Prisoner Exchange with Hizbullah

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel said it was preparing the ground for a possible exchange of prisoners with the terrorist Islamic group Hizbullah in Lebanon. The plans followed the disclosure by a German mediator that at least one Israeli held captive by the State Department-designated terrorist group is alive.

Israeli officials said they had received confirmation from a top German official that the terrorists are still holding an Israeli man captured by Hizbullah three years ago. The official, from the German secret services, convinced Israel to start taking steps to build confidence between the two sides ahead of formal negotiations to secure his release.

On his advice, Israel said it handed over to Lebanon on Monday the bodies of two Hizbullah activists killed in fighting more than three years ago. The gesture was seen as the first move toward negotiations for the return of Hizbullah prisoners in exchange for the Israeli, Elhanan Tannenbaum, who is reported to be in reasonable health.

Earlier this year, Hizbullah supreme leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said his organization was holding four Israeli prisoners. Nasrallah said Tannenbaum was still alive, but that the fate of the other three captives was "not known."

Israel reportedly is willing to waive any linkage between the return of missing IAF navigator Ron Arad to the continued imprisonment of Sheikh Abd al Karim Obeid, a Hizbullah leader captured in Lebanon in 1989, and Mustafa Dirani, a leader of the Amal militia who was captured in 1994, according to the Lebanese daily newspaper A-Sapir. Arad's wife, Tami, is concerned that the ongoing negotiations may move forward while excluding her husband who fell captive on Oct. 16, 1986.


Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak Splits with Wife, Nava

By Mazal Mualem (Ha'aretz)

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and his wife Nava have reached an agreement on a temporary separation. The family court in Rishon L'tzion on Tuesday placed a gag order on all details of the agreement signed by the two.

Lawyers for the couple said that the two have agreed on a temporary split. Barak on Tuesday cancelled all engagements at which the two were expected to appear, including a meeting with Congress members in Jaffa. Ehud and Nava Barak, who met as students in Jerusalem, have been married for 34 years. They have three daughters.


Ghanaian Living in Israel Indicted for Spreading AIDS

By Ha'aretz

A citizen of Ghana living in Israel was indicted Tuesday for knowingly spreading the AIDS virus. The Tel Aviv magistrate's court indicted Chris Sarfo with spreading the virus by having unprotected sex with four women whom he did not tell that he carried the disease. Sarfo is also charged with raping a nine-year-old girl, Israel Radio reported.

The prosecution requested that Sarfo be held in custody until the end of proceedings against him, claiming he poses a public danger due to his "unparalleled impudence" and routine lies. Sarfo is also charged with threatening to murder one of the women with whom he allegedly had unprotected sex after she told other women who knew him that he was an AIDS carrier.

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