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Thousands Express Interest in Galilee Housing


More than 5,000 telephone inquiries have been received this month by the Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Industry & Trade regarding housing opportunities in the Galilee. Working in conjunction with Galilee officials, a plan is being offered by which new residents to the area may receive a free plot of land to build a home in the area. Many persons are expected to visit the Galilee this week in order to obtain a first-hand look of the area and to learn more about the attractive settlement opportunity.

Israel Foils Attack on Jewish Settlement in Gaza

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli forces have foiled an attempted bombing of a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip, shooting and killing one of the attackers. Meanwhile, Israel troops are scaling down their operation in southern Gaza to uncover and destroy what they say were tunnels used to smuggle weapons from Egypt.

Israeli forces opened fire on three Palestinians trying to place a bomb inside the Jewish settlement of Morag, in the southern Gaza Strip. The two other attackers fled the area, where Israeli soldiers found and defused three explosive devices.

The attempted attack occurred as Israel pulled most of its troops out of Rafah, also in the southern Gaza Strip, where troops have been searching for and destroying weapons-smuggling tunnels along the Egyptian border. At least eight Palestinians, including two boys, were killed as the soldiers exchanged fire with the Palestinian gunmen during the raid, code-named Operation Root Canal.

The Israeli army also demolished five buildings in Rafah that it claimed were used by Palestinian snipers to fire on soldiers. Another three buildings used to conceal gun-smuggling tunnels were also destroyed. Israeli officials said the operation followed intelligence reports that Palestinians were attempting to acquire missiles that could knock out tanks and aircraft - weapons they have not used before.

The Israeli army said it uncovered three tunnels used for smuggling arms, but no weapons. While most of the soldiers in the operation have withdrawn from Rafah, small groups of soldiers are expected to continue searches for more tunnels. During the pullback, the soldiers again came under attack from Palestinian gunmen.

Palestinians in Gaza also fired a homemade Kassam rocket at the town of Sderot, in the Negev area of Israel. The rocket damaged one road, but there were no reports of injuries.

Israel, Syria Exchange Warnings Over Recent Israeli Air Strike

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel and Syria have exchanged warnings over Israel's air strike one week ago against what it said was a terrorist training camp near Syria's capital, Damascus.

Israel said it regarded terrorist bases inside Syria and other nations in the region as legitimate military targets. The warning came in sharp reaction to a warning Syria on Saturday that it had the right to defend itself, if it came under attack from Israeli forces again. Syrian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Bushra Kanafani issued her government's warning in response to Israel's bombing of what Israel said was a training base for the Islamic Jihad inside Syria.

The Israeli operation came in reaction to a suicide bombing by the Islamic Jihad that killed at least 20 people in a restaurant in the port city of Haifa.

Kanafani told a media briefing in Damascus that Syria had the right to retaliate, if Israel decided to launch any more military strikes. In response, Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Gideon Meir, said terrorist organizations and their leaders are legitimate targets, whether they are in Syria or elsewhere. He insisted Israel has the right to defend its citizens against terrorist attacks like the suicide bombing in Haifa.

Israel's defense minister, Shaul Mofaz, said last week that Israel has evidence linking Syria to the suicide bombing. The Syrian spokeswoman said all suicide bombings in Israel are masterminded and carried out by Palestinians, not by citizens of Syria. She confirmed that some leaders of militant Palestinian factions are in Syria, but only because they were not allowed by Israel to return to their homes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The U.S. administration has called on Syria to cease harboring terrorists, but it urged both Israel and Syria to avoid any actions that could further inflame tensions in the region.

Report: Israeli Subs Have Nuclear Capabilities


Israeli scientists have modified U.S. supplied cruise missiles to enable them to carry nuclear warheads, the Daily News reports quoting the LA Times.

The international community assumes Israel has between 100 and 200 nuclear weapons. The report explains that the nuclear warheads would enable Israeli subs to strike from the sea. Israel ordered three specialized submarines from Germany in the mid-1990s. The vessels were delivered about two years ago, according to the Times article. The submarines were designed to carry U.S.-made Harpoon missiles, Israeli government officials confirmed, the Daily News reported. Government officials were unwilling to respond to questions regarding nuclear capabilities.

Ron Arad was Paralyzed to Prevent Escape

By Arutz Sheva News

A rally on behalf of Ron Arad will be held Oct. 16 at the Tel Aviv Museum Plaza in Tel Aviv. The Hebrew news site Ynet contains a detailed account of the testimonies of the three Iranian exiles that said they saw Arad.

According to the picture drawn by the three - which is being treated respectfully but cautiously by Israeli intelligence - Arad, unable to walk, was held at least until three years ago in a small and secret prison cell in northern-Teheran.

The testimonies of the three Iranians, which were gathered at different times over the past three years and mostly within the last three months, tell many heretofore unknown details of Arad's tribulations over the past 10 years. In mid 1994, the Iranians purchased him from Mustafa Dirani, who took cruel control of him in Lebanon, has since been captured by special IDF forces, and is now being held in Israel.

The Iranians brought him to Hizbullah headquarters in Lebanon, and later took him to Iran for a security interrogation. Arad was dressed in an Iranian Revolutionary Guard uniform and placed on a well-guarded truck bound for Damascus.

One source said that while still in Syria, a cruel operation paralyzing him at his knees and below that was performed on him, in order to prevent him from trying to escape. He had apparently tried to do just that while still in Lebanon. The operation left Arad wheelchair bound. He was flown from Syria to Iran, held in various tightly-guarded buildings, and underwent some long interrogation sessions. No details on the interrogations were provided.

About five years ago, he was transferred to the prison in which he was seen three years ago and in which he might still be today. Each cell in the complex is 20 square meters in area, with no windows but with an air conditioning system. Two 24-hour video cameras are installed in each room, and the prisoners are taken out - one at a time - to breathe fresh air twice a day.

One source said that he once asked Arad how he was doing, and received a short reply in Arabic, "with maybe a word in Hebrew as well." Arad was hospitalized at least twice because of heart problems. Arad was described as very thin and gaunt, with a sad and hollow expression, and as one who underwent tremendous hardships but has strong standing power.

Israeli sources say that the report has "more than an iota of truth."

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