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Islamic Jihad Terrorists Killed in IAF Gaza Strike

By Ha'aretz

Three Islamic Jihad militants were killed Thursday evening when an Israel Air Force helicopter missile struck their car as they were traveling in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City. IDF security sources confirmed that the target of the strike was Hazam Rahim, a senior activist in Islamic Jihad, who had planned to carry out an attack in Israel in the coming days. Rahim, who was killed in the strike, was one of those responsible for the removal of the body parts of IDF soldiers killed when their armored personnel carrier exploded in the neighborhood in May 2004.

9/11 Report: Al Qaeda Planned Eilat Strike, Israeli Tackled Hijackers

By Ha'aretz

The 585-page report on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, published Thursday, reveals new information on Al-Qaeda efforts to attack Israel and gives details of an attempt by Israeli to stop the hijackers from entering the cockpit of one of the two planes flown into the World Trade Center.

According to the report by the September 11 commission, a high-ranking Al-Qaeda operations official, Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, currently in U.S. custody, admitted during questioning that the terrorist network was planning other attacks along with those of Sept. 11.

During the summer of 2001, according to the report, Sheikh Mohammed proposed to Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden that they try to recruit a Saudi air force pilot, who would take a Saudi combat plane and use it in an air attack on the southern resort city of Eilat. The report does not specify what type of attack Sheikh Mohammed intended or what came as a result of his proposal.

The report also elaborates on the story of the Israeli flying on the American Airlines flight 11 who attempted to stop the hijackers from breaking into the cockpit before the plane plunged into the World Trade Center. Daniel Levin was seated in first class when he saw two of the hijackers - group leader Mohammed Ata and Abdul Aziz al-Omri - getting up in order to enter the cockpit and take control of the plane, according to the report.

The Israeli tried to stop the two, but a third hijacker sitting behind him, Satam al-Sukami stabbed Levin. It is not known whether he was killed or injured, but according to a telephone conversation from a stewardess aboard the plane, Levin was badly injured in the stabbing.

Levin, 31, was a founder of the hi-tech company Acme, based in Boston. He was born in the United States but immigrated to Israel at the age of 14 with his parents. Levin served in the Israel Defense Forces' elite Sayeret Matkal unit. The report said that Levin had served as an IDF officer for four years.

Israel Questions EU's Role as Peacemaker in Mideast

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel chastised the European Union on Thursday, saying it doubted whether it could be seen anymore as an honest broker in the Middle East. The harsh statement came in reaction to the decision of EU representatives to vote for the U.N. General Assembly resolution against Israel's controversial West Bank security barrier.

Israel's Foreign Minister, Silvan Shalom, said on Thursday that it is difficult for him to convince Israelis that the European Union is a partner that can be trusted in Middle East peacemaking. Shalom made the statement after a meeting with the visiting EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

The Israeli minister's remark came just hours after other Israeli officials said they were considering banning EU officials from any further forums aimed at ending the conflict with the Palestinians. Israel, which says the West Bank barrier is necessary to stop Palestinian terrorism, is furious that EU states voted this week in favor of the U.N. General Assembly resolution against the project.

The resolution came in response to an advisory decision of the International Court of Justice at The Hague, which declared the security barrier illegal and called for it to be torn down. Solana said Thursday that European Union states backing of the U.N. General Assembly resolution should not surprise anyone.

He said that the European Union made it clear some time ago that it opposes the barrier because it is being built inside the West Bank, causing hardship to Palestinians. Solana said the European Union respects Israel's right to self-defense and respects the right of every country to build a fence on its own territory. He said a route through occupied territory is not compatible with international law.

Guards at the Olympics


According to media reports, the United States, Britain, and Israel will be the only countries allowed to have armed guards during the coming Olympic games in Athens. However, Greek officials quickly denied this.

Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis said that though armed guards have always been allowed to accompany foreign leaders on their visits to Greece, "Greece is exclusively responsible for the protection and guarding of the athletes." The Olympics will take place in Athens from August 13-29. At the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, the first games after 9/11, some 14 countries used their own armed guards.

Associated Press reported that in response to a request from Greece, the United States has committed 400 American special operations forces to help protect the Olympic games. Israel will also send armed guards, the report stated, and is among a half-dozen countries contributing security expertise at Greece's request. Eleven Israeli athletes were murdered by Palestinian terrorists in the 1972 Games at Munich, Germany.

Finder Returns Lost $6,500 to Two Sisters


Eliyahu Ben-Porat was walking along Menachem Begin St. Wednesday near his home in Ashkelon when he suddenly saw an envelope lying on the ground. Picking it up, he was astonished to find that it contained no less that $6,500 in U.S. currency - and no other identifying marks.

"It was obvious that I would return the money," he later said. "After all, all of us here in this neighborhood live, thank God, from hand to mouth, and everyone needs money. But this wasn't mine; someone else worked for it, and it's his." And so he called his son the policeman, and together they went to the local police station with the money.

With no clues to go on, the police were at first baffled. But after carefully perusing the bills, they found on one of then the name of an 80-year-old woman who lives on the same street. They called her and asked if she has such an envelope, and she answered in the affirmative. The policewoman then asked her to check if it was where it was supposed to be. It was not. The elderly woman was then asked to name the sum in her lost envelope, and she did: $6,500.

It turned out that her older sister, 85, had placed the envelope near the window while cleaning the apartment, from where it fell outside. The police arrived at their home to return the money, and were informed that this was their entire savings. Ben-Porat also arrived for the happy occasion, and said, "Even if it was a million dollars, I would run to the police to return it." He will receive a certificate of Model Citizenship from the police.

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