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Egypt Claims Military Stronger Than in 1973


Egypt says its military is stronger than on the eve of the 1973 war with Israel. The assertion was issued by Egyptian Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi in an address to senior officers. Tantawi said Egypt's military is in "much better condition" than in 1973 and are prepared to defend the country from any attack.

Israeli Soldiers Kill Five Palestinian Policemen

By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli soldiers have shot and killed five Palestinian policemen. The policemen were manning a roadside checkpoint near the West Bank town of Beituniya, near Ramallah. The officers were killed by shots to the head and chest in what Palestinian officials are calling a massacre. The Israeli army said its soldiers fired at what it called suspicious figures.

Palestinian chief Yasir Arafat called the killings assassinations and a dirty operation, stating "Israel will pay for its crimes." Secretary of State Colin Powell called the latest violence "very disturbing" and said Arafat's threat was of no help.

Palestinian mourners demanded revenge for the five Palestinian policemen killed early Monday. Palestinian cabinet minister Nabil Amr renewed an appeal for international protection.

The killing of the policemen came hours after Israeli combat helicopters and naval gunboats attacked Palestinian targets in the Gaza Strip. During that assault a number of security installations and armored vehicles were damaged or destroyed. The Israeli army said the raids were in response to continuous Palestinian terrorist activities.

In the central Israeli city of Petah Tikvah a large bomb was found near a bus station and defused by police.

Hizbullah Attacks Israeli Army Post

By Edward Yeranian (VOA-Beirut)

Hizbullah guerrillas attacked an Israeli army post in the disputed Shebaa Farms region along Lebanon's international border with Israel. It was the first Hizbullah attack on an Israeli position in a month. The terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it fired rockets and heavy artillery on Israeli positions.

The Israeli Army admitted that its post had been hit, but denied that there were any casualties. Hizbullah's official television station, al Manar, disputed the claim, stating Israeli troops had suffered casualties in the attack. Al Manar also said the attack was intended, "to even the score" after Israeli jets attacked a Syrian radar station deep inside Lebanon on April 16.

Lebanon lays claim to the Shebaa Farms, but Israel says it is a part of the Syrian Golan Heights, which it occupied in 1967. The United Nations has defended Israel's position, repeatedly criticizing Lebanon for not putting an end to the border attacks.

Saddam Pledges $1 Billion to Palestinian War Effort


The Palestinian Authority expects Iraq to make good on its promise to grant nearly $1 billion to the Palestinians to continue their war against Israel.

PA sources said Iraqi President Saddam Hussein appears sincere in his pledge to grant the Palestinians 1 billion euros, or more than $900 million. The sources said Iraq and the PA have launched talks on details of the aid.

Saddam, the sources said, is expected to grant much of the aid directly through his Arab Liberation Front. The Baghdad-based group has revived its activities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and has supplied allocations to families who have lost members in the war with Israel.

Maccabi Tel Aviv Wins European Basketball Championship

By VOA News

Maccabi Tel Aviv of Israel has won the final of the SuproLeague Final Four, Europe's most prestigious club basketball competition, to end a 20-year title drought.

Maccabi defeated reigning champion Panathinaikos Athens of Greece, 81-67, to claim the title Sunday in Paris. SuproLeague player of the year Nathaniel Huffman at center and guard Ariel McDonald helped lead the scoring as Maccabi took revenge for its loss to the Athens team in last year's championship match.

The Israeli side trailed for most of the first quarter before taking control with a blistering series of attacks that opened a lead of up to 14 points before halftime. Panathinaikos regained its composure early in the second half. But Huffman and Slovenian national McDonald pushed the Israeli team ahead in the final quarter to seal the victory. Maccabi's last title-win in Europe's premier club championship was in 1981.

More than 8,000 Israelis were on hand to support the team in the City of Light and they later swamped the streets of central Paris with in a sea of yellow clothes, the club's distinctive flags and Israeli flags.

The supporters in Paris were joined by thousands of others in Tel Aviv who crowded into Yad Eliahu to watch the game on a giant screen before converging on Rabin Square where an estimated 100,000 fans celebrated.

"You have proved what we can do when we work as an organized group. Warmest greetings from the people of Israel. We all love you and are proud of you," said Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

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