Israeli Military Cancels Terror Alert (AP) By STEVE WEIZMAN JERUSALEM, ISRAEL 12/03/03 4:01 PM)
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JERUSALEM - Israeli police raided a West Bank mosque on Wednesday,
capturing two Palestinians who allegedly were planning to attack a
school. One was reportedly wearing an explosives belt.
Security forces went on high alert in the northern Israeli towns of
Afula and Beit Shean after what the army said were "numerous"
warnings of Palestinian attacks. One main road was closed and
roadblocks posted on others.
The restrictions were lifted after Israeli troops raided the mosque
in the West Bank village of Bardala, nine miles south of Beit Shean.
Tadji Sawafta, a local official, said two men were arrested.
Gold, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said those
arrested planned a suicide bombing in a school in the Israeli town of
Yokneam. He said it "demonstrates the necessity of Israel´s ongoing
security measures including the completion of its security fence," a
barrier Israel is building which has drawn criticism because its
route cuts deep into the West Bank to encircle Israeli settlements.
Earlier, the military said 27 suspected militants were arrested
overnight, 17 in the Jenin area. A statement said they were part of
the "Islamic Jihad infrastructure" there. Army spokeswoman Maj.
Sharon Feingold said information from the overnight raid led to
capture of the would-be bombers in Bardala.
Also Wednesday, Israeli soldiers arrested four armed Palestinians in
a car south of Hebron. The military said the four had rifles and a
pistol and were about to carry out an attack.
In a separate development, the Israeli military removed a barricade
from a main road near the West Bank town of Ramallah. The army said
the action was part of a program to ease restrictions on Palestinian
movement. Palestinians said the same roadblock has been removed
several times, only to be replaced within days.
On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Israeli and Palestinian protesters
scuffled with riot police as a bulldozer attempted to push ahead with
construction of a Jewish neighborhood in an area claimed by
An Israeli developer broke ground on the new neighborhood in east
Jerusalem earlier this week. The move prompted criticism from
American and Palestinian officials, who said the project violates the
U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan.
The scuffle broke out when about 20 demonstrators from the Israeli
monitoring group Peace Now, holding olive branches, blocked the
bulldozer with their bodies while dozens of police tried to disperse
At least one man was taken away in handcuffs and another lay writhing
on the ground until removed on a stretcher by paramedics.
Police spokesman Gil Kleiman said police used force after
demonstrators ignored a court order allowing construction to proceed.
After intervention by a legislator from the dovish Meretz party,
police backed off, the bulldozer moved to another site and the
demonstrators went away.
The road map, meant to end three years of violence and pave the way
for an independent Palestinian state by 2005, forbids any new Israeli
The planned "Nof Zahav" - or Golden View - neighborhood lies in Jabel
Mukaber, a heavily populated Arab residential area that Israel
captured from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war and later annexed as
part of Jerusalem.
Israel says all of Jerusalem is its unified capital and does not
consider east Jerusalem neighborhoods to be settlements.
The Palestinians want east Jerusalem - including the walled Old City
which houses key Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy sites - as the
capital of their hoped-for state.
Palestinians from Jabel Mukaber say they own the land. The
municipality and the developers dispute their claim. A municipal
spokeswoman would say only that all necessary building permits were
The construction comes at a delicate time. Palestinian officials and
militant groups are gathering in Egypt this week to discuss a halt in
attacks on Israelis.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia hopes to present the truce
offer to Israel and resume stalled talks on the road map.
But the new neighborhood, and a series of Israeli military raids on
militants in the West Bank this week, have threatened to torpedo the
talks in Cairo. (Copyright 2002 Associated Press. 12/03/03)
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