Newsletter : 4fax0325.txt
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Spanish Basketball Team Afraid to Play in Tel Aviv
Spain's Valencia basketball team, scheduled to play Maccabee Tel Aviv Thursday in Tel
Aviv in the Euroleague tournament, announced that it would not arrive - because of the
security situation. Valencia said, "Our players are afraid, and were unable to concentrate
during the last training session." Euroleague officials said Valencia would be punished
with a 20-0 forfeit defeat as well as a monetary fine if it does not show up. "We have
received the necessary guarantees from Maccabee that Valencia will be protected from the
moment they arrive until they leave," a Euroleague official said. Maccabee coach Shimon
Mizrachi said that he wonders whether Valencia is afraid for its security - or of a defeat
on the field
Israeli Citizens Brace for Repercussions
By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem) & Israel Faxx News Services
Repercussions of the assassination of Hamas founder and spiritual leader Ahmed Yassin
are reverberating throughout the Middle East. The U.S. has warned its citizens in Gaza to
leave, and has advised against travel to Israel and the West Bank. The Israeli Foreign
Ministry ordered its diplomats and their families home from missions in Qatar and
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yonatan Peled said the families were brought home a week
before a planned home leave for the Jewish holiday of Passover. He said there were no
direct threats on the two small missions in the Arab world, but for "security reasons" the
families were brought home. The missions are small, and there are only about two or three
families in each one, Peled said.
The State Department in a statement said, "In the aftermath of the killing of Hamas
leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a Hamas spokesman has threatened revenge against Israel and
U.S. interests. U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to
take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness." On Tuesday, U.S. embassies
in Syria and Jordan issued similar warnings to American residents there.
Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi, however, on Wednesday said Hamas had no plans to
attack American targets. He said the group's agenda was to fight the Israeli occupation of
Palestinian lands. Another top Hamas official, Sayed Seyam, who told Reuters "It's not in
our policy to target Americans or American interests", echoed these sentiments.
Hamas had released a statement shortly after the assassination on Monday, in which it
directly threatened the U.S. for the first time in the group's history. "The Zionists
didn't carry out their operation without the consent of the terrorist American
administration, and it must bear responsibility for this crime," the statement said.
President George W. Bush told reporters on Tuesday that these threats by Hamas were
being taken seriously. "I'm worried about terrorist groups targeting America," Bush said
when asked about the threat posed by Hamas. "Whether it be an Hamas threat, or an al Qaeda
threat, we take them very seriously in this administration."
Hamas Sets Sights on Sharon to Avenge Yassin
Palestinian terrorist group Hamas said Wednesday it had the right to target Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon to avenge Israel's killing of its leader but reassured the United
States it was not in the firing line.
Israeli tanks thrust into a Gaza refugee camp, keeping up the pressure as Washington
warned Americans in the Middle East and North Africa of a heightened attack threat after
Israel's assassination of Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin Monday. Amplifying the mood of
spiraling conflict, Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi, Yassin's successor in Gaza, urged attacks on
Israelis everywhere -- a call Hamas officials later said was limited to Israel and the
Israel has vowed to take out Rantissi and other militant chiefs. Ignoring international
condemnation, it says it is defending itself against the masterminds of suicide bombings
that have killed hundreds of Israelis. Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal was quoted as
telling pan-Arab al-Hayat daily in Damascus that Hamas now had the right to "hunt down the
big Zionist heads" including Sharon.
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed faction of Palestinian chieftain Yasir Arafat's
Fatah movement, echoed the pledge. "Wherever you find a Zionist kill him without
hesitation," a masked al-Aqsa leader, identifying himself as Abu Qusai, told Reuters,
repeating an order issued to the group's members. Sharon's office declined to comment.
In what Palestinians called their biggest gathering ever, hundreds of members of the
Hamas military wing paraded in Gaza City to mark the end of the formal mourning period for
Yassin. "Await a unique, unprecedented attack the likes of which the enemy has never
seen," the masked master of ceremonies said in a speech, to cheers from onlookers
numbering tens of thousands.
Arafat urged calm. "I am against any attacks on civilians, on Israeli civilians and
Palestinian civilians," he said. But
Israel, which stepped up its hunt for militants after a double suicide bombing by Hamas
and al-Aqsa last week killed 10 Israelis at a strategic port, dismissed Arafat's appeal.
"This is the most ludicrous statement ever made by the master of duplicity and the
mastermind of the suicide bombing culture," said Sharon spokesman Raanan Gissin. Israel
accuses Arafat of fomenting violence. He denies it.
Teen Bomber Planned to Blow Himself Up
By IsraelNationalNews.com & Israel Faxx News Service
The 14-year-old suicide bomber apprehended near a Shechem checkpoint Wednesday told
army officers that he was not just carrying the bomb belt under his shirt, but was
planning to blow himself up. He told army officials he was given NIS 100 (about $20) and
promised sex when he arrived in heaven.
"Blowing myself up is the only chance I've got to have sex with 72 virgins in the
Garden of Eden," Hussam Bilal Abdu from the Nablus area, told his Israeli investigators
after being caught wearing an eight kilogram explosives belt. "They told me that this was
the only way." he told his captors, adding that he had been bullied at school for his poor
academic performance and that he had wanted "to be a hero."
According to IDF Lt. Col. Guy, the commander of Paratrooper Battalion 202, explained
that if the bomb had passed undetected, the teenager would have tried to perpetrate an
attack inside Green Line Israel. Since that was not the case, he did try to trigger the
bomb against soldiers at the checkpoint but it failed to detonate. Guy praised the sharp
eye of his soldiers, who undoubtedly prevented yet another suicide bombing attack.
The troops talked him into taking off his explosives vest at gunpoint. Abdu's
surrender televised internationally, came nine days after a Palestinian porter of 12 was
detained there on suspicion of trying to smuggle through a bomb and then freed after
soldiers determined it was put into the boy's bag without his knowledge.
Abdu's mother voiced astonishment at her son's arrest. "Hussam left home this morning
to school, and this was the first we hear of what happened," Tamam Abdu told Reuters from
the family home in Nablus, just north of Hawara. "This is shocking. To use a child like
this is irresponsible, forbidden."
The boy's brother, Hussam Abdu, said his brother was mentally slow. "He doesn't know
anything, and he has intelligence of a 12 year old."
Dore Gold, an adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said "No matter how many times
Israel learns of the use of children for suicide bombings, it is shocking on each
occasion. Israelis do not understand how Palestinians are willing to sacrifice their own
children in order to kill ours."
The boy became shy, asking troops, "Do I have to take my clothes off here?"
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