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                     Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
                       Aug. 24, 1995, V3, #155
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Two Bombing Masterminds Arrested

By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli security forces say they have arrested two militants suspected of being the masterminds of the two latest suicide bombings in Israel. Thirty other Palestinians suspected of being accomplices also have been picked up in a security sweep. The announcement of the arrests was made by the head of the Shin Bet security service. He said the two ringleaders were arrested Saturday, two days before the latest suicide bombing in Jerusalem.

The Shin Bet chief said the two men -- Nasser Issa from the West Bank and Hatem Ismail from the Gaza Strip -- represented the core of the infrastructure of the military wing of the militant Islamic organization Hamas. He said the two were trained in the Gaza Strip by Yihya Ayash, nicknamed The Engineer, who heads Israel's most wanted list and is suspected of being the mastermind of at least six suicide bombings that have killed 76 people since May 1994.

Security forces say they also raided a bomb-making factory in the West Bank town of Nablus. They said they found bomb-making equipment and assembled fertilizer-based bombs. Agents also seized disguises apparently intended for future suicide bombers, including wigs and skull caps worn by observant Jews.

Islamic militant bombings against Israel have killed more than 100 people since Israel and the PLO signed a peace deal in September 1993. The attacks have slowed the peace process, but have not derailed negotiations.

Palestinian Talks Resume After One-Day Hiatus

By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)

American envoy Dennis Ross has met with Israeli and PLO negotiators in an intensified US push for an accord on extending Palestinian self-rule. Israeli and Palestinian teams resumed their talks Tuesday, after a one-day halt following a suicide bombing in Jerusalem which killed five people.

Despite calls from the Israeli opposition to suspend talks with the PLO, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators say they intend to work around the clock in order to finalize the accord to expand Palestinian autonomy to the West Bank.

The United States would like to host the signing ceremony of the accord under which Israeli troops will withdraw from major Arab towns in the West Bank. Some Israeli Cabinet ministers are questioning whether such a high-profile ceremony is appropriate, given the recent suicide bus bombings in Israel.

Meanwhile, Israel has lifted the closure on the Gaza Strip which it imposed following Monday's bomb attack. Palestinian workers from Gaza were able to get to jobs inside Israel again, although many laborers who have not yet received new work permits have been prevented from entering Israel. The closure imposed on the West Bank following the bombing remains in effect until today.

Israeli security officials are warning the Islamic fundamentalist organization, Hamas, will attempt more suicide bombings inside Israel before the signing of the next agreement between Israel and the PLO. Hamas took responsibility for the latest suicide bombing, and has vowed to continue attacks until Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's government falls.

King Hussein Tells Why he Granted Asylum

By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)

Jordan's King Hussein has gone on national television to explain why he granted asylum to two high-ranking Iraqi military officers, both sons-in-law of Saddam Hussein. He also used the 45-minute speech to further distance himself from the Iraqi leader and reassert his sympathy and kinship for the Iraqi people. The Jordanian monarch said the defectors had informed him that Iraq was planning to attack Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

King Hussein says he was shocked to learn from the Iraqi defector, Gen. Hussein Kamel Hassan, that Saddam Hussein had been considering a new attack against Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. He said Kamel also revealed the harsh realities of Iraq's suffering.

King Hussein had no kind words for Kamel's father-in-law. Instead, he pondered aloud why the Iraqi leadership had put Jordan at risk during the Gulf war by launching missiles across its lands to attack Israel. He suggested that Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait had damaged Arab prestige and credibility.

He echoed the position of the West and other Arab states that UN sanctions against Iraq cannot be lifted until Baghdad complies with all UN resolutions, including its human rights record and the accountability for Kuwaitis still listed as missing.

King Hussein also stressed that nobody could pressure him to cut ties with Iraq. He said closing the border is unthinkable, because it would cut off the flow of food and medicine to the Iraqi people. He will not cut off the supply of much-needed Iraqi oil either.

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