Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Israeli forces take assassins of Israeli minister Rehavam Zeevi into Israeli custody from Jericho jail

The IDF went into Jericho today and forcibly removed several prisoners, to prevent an Israeli minister’s assassins escape from jail after the American and British monitors posted there under an international agreement signed by the Palestinian Authority abandoned their watch. The men they were guarding are Ahmed Sadaat, head of the PFLP who ordered the murder of the Israeli tourism minister in 2001, his four gunmen and the Ahmed Shoubaki, financier of the Karin-A illegal arms ship.

After Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi was assasinated in 2001, the Palestinian assassins,PLFP leader Ahmed Sadaat and his men were confined under an agreement between the Quartet, Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Jericho under American and British monitors.

The American and British monitors evacuated their posts after a U.S.-UK letter to Abbas was sent to the Palestinian Authority accusing them of failing to abide by international agreements or provide the guards with proper security.

Both Hamas and Chairman Abbas had promised to free them after the Palestinian elections, and Abbas apparently gave the order while he was in Europe.

The IDF moved in this morning with Nahal Brigade troops along with the police's special anti-terror unit and broke into the facility amidst reports of explosions and heavy gunfire. PA sources said two Palestinians were killed - one policeman and one inmate - while three others were wounded in the gun battle that ensued.

(I wonder how `jailed' prisoners ended up with firearms, unless the PA supplied them after the British and Americans left?)

Aside from the six, some 200 prisoners surrendered to IDF troops and were taken to the nearby Jewish town of Vered Jericho for interrogation. According to the IDF, anyone who was of interest to Israeli security forces would be kept in Israeli custody. Seventy-six others who didn't make the all star team were returned to the custody of the PA.

The IDF took a hard-line stance throughout the day. One officer said, "We want to take them out alive, but if they threaten us we won't hesitate to kill them.

The Palestinians went berserk afterwards, taking hostages, rioting and burning buildings in the style all of us have come to know and expect. They attacked offices linked to the United States and Europe and torched the British Council building in Gaza City. They kidnapped 21 foreigners throughout Gaza and the West Bank, including an American university professor, a Swiss employee of the Red Cross and three journalists from France and South Korea, plus a handful of aid workers.

The American, an english teacher at American University was later released.

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