Palestinians destroy first tunnel (JERUSALEM POST) By MARGOT DUDKEVITCH 02/03/05)
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For the first time on Wednesday, Palestinian security officials
demolished an arms-smuggling tunnel linking the Palestinian and
Egyptian sides of Rafah.
Palestinian security officials said the 16-meter-deep tunnel was
filled with water and sand before a bulldozer was dispatched to
The demolition occurred as Gaza division commander Brig.-Gen. Aviv
Kohavi and Col. Yoav Mordechai, head of the Gaza district
coordinating office, met with Moussa Arafat, the head of security in
The IDF said that it had no knowledge of a tunnel in that location.
In another development, The Jerusalem Post has learned that the
status of Palestinian fugitives will only be determined after the
gradual transfer of West Bank cities to Palestinian security control
Israeli officials said that there were two possible ways that the
fugitives would be dealt with. The more likely option, according to
officials, is that Israel would make an outright decision whereby
Palestinian fugitives living in areas under Palestinian control would
no longer be sought by Israel. The second option was that a joint
team comprised of IDF, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and
Palestinian officials would be formed. The members of this committee
would scrutinize each individual, based on Shin Bet information, and
determined whether or not they were still involved in terror.
"The issue is one of many currently being discussed with Palestinian
officials in the framework of coordinating and enhancing security,"
an Israeli security official said.
The official did not rule out the possibility that the transfer of
cities would begin within days of the Egyptian-initiated summit that
will bring together Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, PA Chairman Mahmoud
Abbas, Jordan´s King Abdullah and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
Israeli officials said the number of fugitives sought by Israel was
in the vicinity of 200 to 300.
Other issues being discussed were the release of Palestinian security
prisoners, ways of boosting security along the Philadelphi Route in
southern Gaza and preventing the proliferation of tunnels used for
smuggling weapons from Egypt into Gaza.
In the Gaza Strip, soldiers blew up four roadside bombs discovered by
troops near the border with Egypt. Later sappers blew up a 6-kg. bomb
discovered by troops south of the Sufa crossing in southern Gaza.
In the afternoon, soldiers manning the Tufah crossing in southern
Gaza thwarted an attempt by a Palestinian woman to smuggle some 100
bullets hidden in a crate of apples and at the bottom of a can of
olives. She was detained by the Shin Bet for questioning.
In the Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning, shots were fired at Rafiah
Yam in southern Gaza and at an IDF post near Gadid in Gush Katif; no
one was wounded in either attack.
Touring the Gaza Strip, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz accompanied by
deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Dan Halutz, told reporters that while
Israel is keen to take advantage of the "new reality," it will be
forced to act if the violence continues. Meeting with Givati
soldiers, Mofaz said "it is a fragile reality that requires you to be
prepared for all possible scenarios, to the point that the entire
situation may be turned upside down."
In the West Bank, security forces deployed in the Ein Bet Ilma
refugee camp in Nablus arrested Baizir Al Mahma, whom the army
claimed planned to launch a suicide bombing in Israel. In the
afternoon, reservists arrested a fugitive from Islamic Jihad in
Kalkilya. AP contributed to this report. (© 1995-2005, The Jerusalem
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