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Report: Saddam Feared Israel Attack

By Israel Faxx News Service

Saddam Hussein feared Israel would attack if it knew Iraq did not have chemical weapons, a new report said. The newly declassified military report contains information about a meeting between Ba'ath Party leaders and Ali Hassan al-Majid, who was in charge of Iraq's weapons development, according to Ha'aretz, which received access to an excerpt to be printed in Foreign Affairs Magazine.


Avian Flu Feared in Israel After 1,000+ Birds Found Dead in Negev

By Ha'aretz

Israeli authorities were bracing for a potential outbreak of the deadly strain of avian flu Thursday, after more than 1,000 poultry were found dead in southern Israel.

The suspected bird flu was found in birds at hen-houses on Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha in the western Negev. There are also reports of huge numbers of dead birds in nearby communities, including Kibbutz Holit.

The Agriculture Ministry and the Veterinarian Services imposed a full quarantine on both Ein Hashlosha and Holit, and roadblocks have been erected on the main routes into the area. The nearby communities of Kibbutz Nahal Oz and Nirim were also fully quarantined, even though no suspected bird flu cases were found there.

According to the ministry's instructions, the movement of any winged species was forbidden in a two-mile radius from the communities, hen-houses may be approached only by their workers, and any person or vehicle found in the vicinity of poultry in the area must undergo a sanitation procedure.

Chief veterinarian for avian disease at the Veterinary Services Dr. Shimon Pokominski said that final results of the tests confirming or denying the presence of avian flu would be available on Friday afternoon at the earliest. The procedure might possibly take longer to complete, however, Pokominski said.

The Agriculture Ministry convened an emergency session to discuss the issue, but refused at this stage to identify the virus. Agriculture Minister Ze'ev Boim said Israel was still testing the birds to determine whether they had the feared flu strain. "Tonight, we will likely find out if indeed we are talking about bird flu," Boim told Channel 1 television on Thursday evening. "In the meantime, it is a suspicion.

"We have imposed a quarantine in a radius of four miles around the area, and we are prepared, in case our suspicions are confirmed, to prepare for a wide scale destruction of the flocks" in a radius of two miles, he said.

The H5N1 virus was detected in neighboring Egypt last month, and Boim said the death of the birds in southern Israel might indicate that the disease could have entered the country from Egypt.

The Israel Defense Forces requested Thursday from health authorities in the Palestinian Authority to deliver blood samples of poultry from Gaza Strip hen-houses in order to determine whether they were the source of the suspected deadly strain.

According to medical sources, initial tests carried out Thursday on a number of turkeys on the kibbutz showed that the birds had died from avian flu, although the virus must still be isolated to confirm that it is the deadly H5N1 strain.

Boim stressed that Israelis should remain calm until the tests have been completed. The Veterinary Service has warned the public not to approach birds suspected of having the virus, but to contact the service immediately.

At this stage, only those in the immediate vicinity of the fowl are in danger of catching the disease. Anyone who has been in contact with the birds on either kibbutz is to get in touch with the local health authority.

To date, the disease cannot be passed from human to human, but can only be contracted through eating the meat of animals infected with the virus.

Health officials fear H5N1 could evolve into a virus that can be transmitted easily between people and become a global pandemic, but there has been no confirmation of this happening yet. At least 97 people have died from the disease worldwide, with most victims infected directly by sick birds.


Israeli Soldier Killed in West Bank Gun Battle

By VOA News

An Israeli soldier has been killed in a gun battle with Palestinian terrorists holed up in a house in the West Bank town of Jenin.

Soldiers surrounded the house Thursday and threatened to demolish it if those inside refused to surrender. The Israeli army said four gave themselves up after a fierce firefight. A fifth terrorist was caught as he tried to escape. Reports said the gunmen included members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and Islamic Jihad.

In another development, the Israeli military says Palestinian gunmen shot and wounded two Israelis driving in a car Thursday in the northern West Bank, near the town of Nablus. Israeli forces also arrested 15 wanted Palestinians in a security sweep through the West Bank overnight.

The heightened tensions come two days after Israeli soldiers raided a Palestinian jail in the West Bank town of Jericho, capturing six wanted murderers in an operation that outraged Palestinians.


Hamas Child Terror Web Site Updated with Story of ´Girl's Heroism´

By IsraelNationalNews.com & Israel Faxx News Service

The Hamas-run web site promoting suicide terrorism to children has been updated with a new illustrated story glorifying a young girl's suicide attack on the "Zionists."

The story, entitled "A Palestinian Girl's Heroism," describes how the young girl calmly progresses, step by step, though the planning and execution of the terror attack, in which she dies. In death she is said to be "smiling, lying on the grass, because she died as a Shahida, martyr for Allah, for Palestine."

"The illustration with the story on the web shows a young smiling girl with four candles," a report by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) pointed out. "The image of a living, smiling child in a story about the death of a child appears to echo a familiar message in PA children's education, that those who die as Shahids (Martyrs for Allah) are not really dead."

After PMW originally published a report on the Al-Fateh web site encouraging children to seek martyrdom, and after a recent Arutz-7 article (published in Israel News Faxx) on the report was featured on the Drudge Report, the Hamas site's Russian server (CORBINA TELECOM Network Operations) immediately closed down the website on March 9. The site reopened a couple of days later, however, and is now being hosted by a Malaysian web hoster (Eastgate;Telekom Multimedia of Telekom Malaysia Berhad;Telekom Exchange II, Jalan Lingkaran Fauna).

The following is a translation of the new short story on the Al-Fateh web site:

A Palestinian Girl's Heroism: "Suad, the bright Palestinian girl, remembered what the Zionist criminals did when they killed her father and mother. One day while Suad was walking, she heard a voice from the trees. She turned and saw three men planting land-mines on the road leading to the Zionist camp.

"Suad kept on walking. After a while, she saw a car with some Zionists and an idea popped into her mind. She walked to the officer who was in the car, and told him: `I'll lead you to Palestinian Fida'yon (literally: self sacrificing fighters) in return for food, because I am hungry.'

"The officer was afraid of the Fida'yon's reputation, and didn't believe what Suad told him. He then said to his soldiers: "Take her to the camp so we will clarify her story". In the camp, the soldiers brought food to Suad, so she would lead them to the Fida'yon. She told them: `Before I taste any food, I must lead you to the Fida'yon.'

"The officer was very happy and told his soldiers: `Let's go fast.' "On the way, Suad got ready to carry out her plan. She decided to cause the car to ride over the land-mines, so that all of the soldiers would die.

"Suad sat next to the driver, to direct him, and she led him to the land-mines. Then the [car] blew-up and all of the soldiers were killed. As for Suad, well she became a Shahida (Martyr for Allah) on the grass, while smiling, because she died as a Shahida for Palestine". [Al-Fateh - Hamas Website, March 15, 2006].

Al-Fateh (Arabic for "the conqueror"), which has published 71 issues since September 2002, includes animated characters and graphics designed to attract children. The bi-weekly magazine includes stories and columns praising suicide bombers and attacks against the "Jewish enemy," as well as other anti-Semitic and anti-Israel themes.

The latest issue also includes a section titled "Essential News from the Palestinian Lands," which provides a summary of Palestinian casualties during fifteen days in February 2006.

Al-Fateh regularly includes photos of children it claims have been detained, injured or killed by Israeli police, images of children firing slingshots or throwing rocks at Israelis and children holding automatic weapons and firebombs.

Mothers of suicide bombers are quoted in the magazine as well. One mother is quoted as saying: "After I heard that my son became a shahid [martyr], I was beside myself with joy. I went to the store and bought candy and cakes, and gave them out to the entire village. It was a great celebration and a great honor for me and for the Palestinian people."

The magazine encourages readers to write in, and receives e-mail from children all over the Arab world.


Arab Hospital in East Jerusalem Holds Babies as 'Hostages' for Payment

By YnetNews.com

The Al-Muqaddas hospital in east Jerusalem has found an original way to get women who have given birth at the hospital to pay their debts: If persuasions and demands don't work, babies are kept as hostages – until the financial matters are settled, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

The episode was uncovered on Wednesday by the Justice Ministry, which received a Shuafat resident who told how her baby daughter is being held at the hospital as 'deposit' in exchange for payment for treatment. The woman said that she gave birth to triplets on January 15 – two girls and a boy - who were kept at the hospital ward for premature babies for treatment. Three weeks later, after it was time for them to be released, the hospital management said that she had to pay a fee of NIS 10,000 ($2,127).

The woman said that she could not pay the amount, and to her amazement the management said that one of her babies would stay at the hospital until her family pays 10 percent of the fine, and on condition that the hospital receives approval from the Palestinian Authority that the rest of the payment is delivered through national insurance.

The mother immediately turned to Israel's Justice Ministry for legal aid, where the incident was investigated, and the Health Ministry was also brought into the case. The Health Ministry sent a letter to the Al-Muqaddas hospital management which stated that "a hospital is not permitted to delay the release of a patient or a baby born in the hospital, and cannot force hospitalization."

"This is the first time the hospital has kept babies as hostages to get rid of debt," said lawyer Eyal Globus from the Legal Aid Department of the Justice Ministry. When members of the Ministry sought an explanation from the hospital, Dr. Haytam al-Hassan said in response that this was a "normal procedure."

The baby was released from the hospital a few days ago, but Health Minister Jacob Edery (Kadima) instructed the Health Ministry director-general to urgently summon Dr. al-Hassan for clarification.


Israel Chooses Eurovision Song Contest Rep

By YnetNews.com

Eddie Butler has been chosen to represent Israel at the annual Eurovision song contest to be held in Athens, Greece, on May 20th.

Butler was born in Israel to American parents that came for a visit from Chicago but decided to stay in Dimona. At age 19, Butler decided to leave Dimona for Tel Aviv and began performing in different spots. Eventually he and brother Gabriel formed "Eden," with two other friends. The band broke up in 2001, and a year ago, Butler embarked on a solo career.

Butler, whose song "This is the time," earned 99 points, surpassing his main challengers – the "Gameboys" and the "Diamonds," an all-girl band. Butler has already been to the Eurovision final, in 1999 as a member of the musical group "Eden", which finished in fifth place.

"I've always known that God loves those that love him," Butler said in response. "I did not serve in the IDF and now I have the opportunity to pay back the country which I love so much. You can feel that this song came from the heart. It is real. I knew that people would identify with it. I can't wait to get to Athens, and do it all over again," the 34-year-old Butler said.

Butler wrote the lyrics together with Orly Burg and Osnat Zvag, and composed the music himself. He was registered into the competition without his knowledge by his agent, Yoav Gross.


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