Newsletter : 5fax0410.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
April 10, 1995, V3, #65
All the News the Big Guys Missed
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Suicide Bombers Attack Gaza Israel Settlement
By Patricia Golan (Jerusalem) & Deborah Tate (Los Angeles)
In the PLO-ruled Gaza Strip, suspected Islamic suicide
bombers killed at least seven Israelis and wounded about 45 in
two attacks near Jewish settlements. The Islamic Jihad
organization has claimed responsibility, but Israeli security
sources believe it is more likely that another radical Islamic
group, Hamas, carried out the attacks.
In the first attack, an explosives-laden truck rammed into an
Israeli civilian bus on the highway near Kfar Darom -- an
isolated Jewish settlement in the center of the Gaza Strip.
An hour later, another booby-trapped car smashed into a jeep
carrying Israeli troops near the neighboring Jewish settlement of
Netzarim, wounding several soldiers. This, too, appeared to be a
The Israeli army pulled out of the Gaza Strip last May, turning
over control to the PLO, except for the areas where some 5,000
Jewish settlers live. Since the Israeli-PLO peace accord was
signed in September 1993, scores of Israelis have been killed by
suicide bombings carried out by radical Islamic groups bent on
undermining the peace process. The suicide bombings have seriously
eroded Israeli support for the agreement with the PLO on
Yasir Arafat, head of the Palestinian Authority, condemned the
latest attacks, but his attempts to curb Islamic radicals have
met with only limited success. Sunday's attacks will certainly
increase Israeli pressure on Arafat to take more drastic action.
Israelis had been on high alert expecting some sort of attack
following last Sunday's mysterious explosion in a Gaza City
apartment in which several Hamas activists were killed. The
Palestinian Authority and Israel say the blast was caused by an
accident in a Hamas bomb factory, but the group has blamed Israel
for the explosion.
President Clinton says the suicide bombings must not be allowed to
derail the Middle East peace process. Clinton made his comments
during a speech to the Jewish Federation in Los Angeles. He
expressed his condolences to the government and the people of
Israel as he condemned the violence and those responsible.
"The enemies of peace have sought to abuse the opportunity peace
presents, to kill it, to kill hope, to kill all possibility of a
normal life, for the people of Israel, the Palestinians who are
struggling to do the right thing there, and the people throughout
the Middle East who can see a permanent and lasting peace within
Live to Age 120...Not Really!
By Edward Yeranian (Lebanon)
Although France's Jean Clament at 120 years old was recently hailed
as the world's oldest living person, one man from Lebanon claims to
be even older. Ali Hussein Muhammed, according to his Lebanese ID
card, is 133 years old.
High in the mountains of northern Lebanon, where the air is pure
and nature pristine, lives a man who villagers say is the oldest
living human being on earth. At 133 years of age, Muhammed was
born in 1862, when Lebanon was a province of the Ottoman Empire.
Recent ceremonies marking the 120th birthday of France's Jean
Clament give Ali Hussein Muhammed a chuckle. "She could just
about be my daughter," says Ali, his voice raspy from old age,
but his sense of humor still lively.
The only problem with Ali's claim to fame is that record-keeping
did not begin in many parts of Lebanon until the French census
of 1932. Nonetheless, villagers from Qoniya -- this picturesque
mountain hamlet of 200 inhabitants, where Christians and Muslims
live side by side -- have no doubt about Ali's venerable age.
Hajji Zeynab, hard of hearing and frail, is herself well over 100
years of age. She insists that Ali was already a young man when
he carried her on his back during her childhood.
Mother Khalil, who is now in her 90s, also thinks that Ali is quite
old. "He has certainly got to be at least as old as my late
father," she says, "and he would have been 130 this year."
Despite his now fragile appearance, Ali was once quite robust. He
says he built his own house, carrying the thick cedar beams on his
back for miles. By trade, Ali worked as a woodcutter, although he
gave up the job some years ago when his eyesight began failing.
Ali's favorite story is undoubtedly one that neighbors have heard
many times. He often reminisces about the day he frightened off
an entire Turkish patrol by shouting and firing his rifle into a
cliff with an echo.
As for his secret to longevity, Ali says he smokes a cigarette now
and then, drinks lots of Turkish coffee and eats homemade yogurt.
Since he has lost all of his teeth, however, Ali admits he has
Having a young wife also keeps Ali young, he says. When his first
wife Fatmeh died some years ago, Ali remarried a woman 60 years his
junior. He now points proudly to several of his 150 descendants.
As for death, Ali says (half tongue-in cheek) "When I reached 100,
I prepared to meet my maker. But now, I don't think he wants to
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