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Arafat Blames Israel for Poisoning PA Residents


Yasir Arafat in an interview with the London-based Al-Shark al-Awsat newspaper repeated an old accusation, blaming Israel for using uranium and other toxic agents to poison PA residents. He maintained that Israel's actions have led to increased levels of cancer among PA residents. Arafat also accused Israel of "crimes against holy sites", explaining "extremists Israelis pray on the al-Aqsa Mosque" and drink alcohol on the holy site in violation of Islamic law. Arafat also said that he would step down from office after he has ruled an independent Palestinian state.

Iran Says it Now Has Missile with 1,200 Mile Range

By VOA News

Iran says it now has a missile with a range of up to 1,200 miles. Iran's state-run news agency IRNA quoted former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani as saying Iran has the capability of launching such a missile and remains determined to further improve its military capabilities.

Military experts said they believe the old version of Iran's Shahab-3 missile had a range of 800 miles, which would allow it to strike anywhere in Israel. The new modified version with its increased range would be capable of hitting targets in parts of southeastern Europe.

Israel Arrests UN Employees for 'Terror' Activities

By VOA News & Ha'aretz

The Israeli army has arrested 13 United Nations employees on suspicion of terrorist activities. Army officials Tuesday said charges would be brought against the 13. But they did not provide specifics. The arrests come after Israel complained to the U.N. that Palestinian terrorists were using U.N. ambulances to transport weapons.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan launched an investigation into those accusations late Monday. The head of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine, Peter Hansen, rejected the Israeli accusations as deliberately inciteful and as propaganda.

Israel Defense Forces chief of operations Yisrael Ziv did not confirm Tuesday evening whether or not the army was justified in its accusation that Palestinian militants had loaded a Kassam rocket into a United Nations ambulance in the Gaza Strip.

Ziv spoke at a media conference convened following a storm of controversy sparked by the release of video filmed from an IDF drone aircraft in which, Israel claimed, Palestinian militants in Gaza were loading a Kassam rocket into a United Nations Relief and Works Agency ambulance. The UN agency claimed the object was a stretcher.

The IDF was reevaluating its claim - an apparent climb-down in a high-profile confrontation - and Ziv emphasized the IDF "is not free of mistakes." On Tuesday, the IDF removed from its Web site the military drone's video footage. When he was asked whether the object in the film was a Kassam rocket or a stretcher, Ziv said: "I suggest we don't deal with the object but rather with the context."

Professionals from air force intelligence are adamant they have the expertise and the necessary equipment to properly identify images the Israel Air Force camera recorded. They have said a Palestinian was carrying a Kassam rocket, or at least an anti-tank missile, into an UNRWA ambulance in the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza. But in the wake of media pressure, the IDF has slightly modified its assessment, saying it still believes the object in the ambulance was a weapon but that it can't completely rule out the possibility that it was actually a stretcher.

"The Israel Defense Forces is reviewing the original analysis of the footage, in which UNRWA vehicles are seen involved in suspicious activity in the combat zone in Gaza," an IDF statement said Tuesday. IDF officers said Monday night "it's impossible to swear" the object wasn't a stretcher.

Some members of the Hamas terrorist organization are on the United Nations' payrolls - so confirmed UNRWA Chief Peter Hansen. In an interview with the Canadian CBC news agency, Hansen justified UNRWA's employment of Hamas members by saying that many of them are affiliated with the "political faction". Not all Hamas members are terrorists, Hansen claimed.

The salaries for UNRWA employees are paid through contributions from close to 40 countries, with 30% coming from the United States, 4% from Canada and over 55% from European nations. Hansen's statements therefore tie the donor nations to at least one Islamist terrorist group through the salaries paid to Hamas members.

Israeli Confesses to Killing, Dismembering Wife in Thailand

By Ha'aretz

An Israeli man on trial for murdering and dismembering his wife in Thailand on Tuesday changed his plea from not guilty to guilty. If convicted, he faces the death penalty. Eli Cohen, 36, was arrested in February and accused of murdering Carol, his 26-year-old estranged wife, during a vacation in Bangkok.

The arrest came after the discovery of a torso in a suitcase dumped in a canal in the Thai capital. Other body parts and a head were found later in the canal and forensic tests confirmed the body was Carol's.

Cohen had originally pleaded innocent to the murder, but on Tuesday confessed to the crime. He insisted, however, that the murder was not premeditated. "I loved my wife a lot," Cohen told the court through an interpreter. "I did what I did without thought."

The court accepted Cohen's plea reversal, which came shortly after the Israeli lost a diplomatic appeal to have his trial transferred to a Tel Aviv court. The court heard the testimony of three employees at the Prince Palace Hotel, where Cohen allegedly killed his wife with a butcher cleaver. His case will continue Wednesday.

The head of Israel's State Prosecution international division, Irit Kahan, said in August that if Cohen is sentenced to the death penalty, Justice Minister Yosef Lapid has said Israel would appeal to the Thai king for clemency and ask the authorities there to suffice with a life-sentence.

Israeli Company Keeping 'Lady Liberty' Safe


An Israeli company is helping to keep the newly reopened Statue of Liberty complex in New York City safe. Nice Systems is aiding security using its smart video solutions, Israel21c reported.

The Ra'anana-based company has been working with the U.S. Park Police responsible for the site's security, and installed its technology throughout the complex prior to its re-opening two months ago. The Nice solution uses IT-grade video networking and management, delivering images and advanced analytic applications to the park police to help protect the 117-year-old national monument.

The Statue had been closed to tourists since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and was reopened amidst warnings of further terror attacks on strategic buildings and monuments in New York and Washington, D.C. Some of the new security measures include a bomb-detection device that blows a blast of air into clothing and then checks for particles of explosive residue.

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