Israel claims it captured two would-be bombers in Nablus as U.S. slams closure of Al Quds university offices of Nusseibe

Published July 11th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

Israeli troops operating overnight in villages near the West Bank city of Nablus arrested 10 Palestinian activists, including two Palestinians who planned to carry out suicide bombings, Israel Radio reported Thursday.  

 

It said one of the would-be bombers was detained during a raid on Asira a-Shimaliya village north of Nablus, where troops seized him and seven other members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. One of those was suspected of commanding a suicide operation, and the other six were suspects in shooting attacks against Israelis in the northern West Bank.  

 

In another Israeli raid in the Nablus-area, two more Palestinians were taken into custody, one of them planning to carry out a suicide bombing, the radio said. 

 

An explosive device went off near an Israeli military convoy at the West Bank town of Jenin Wednesday night, Israel Radio reported. There were no reports of casualties. The device went off just as the Israeli troops were preparing to re-impose a curfew on the city, after some hours the curfew had been lifted, the report said. Some Molotov cocktails were also thrown, the radio reported.  

 

Elsewhere in the West Bank, a Palestinian man was killed by Israeli army near Qalqilya after having breached the curfew there, the Israeli media reported. He was spotted by Israeli soldiers while trying to enter Israel. They fired at him and killed him. 

 

Meanwhile, the White House said Wednesday it was troubled by the closing of the Jerusalem university offices of a prominent Palestine Liberation Organization official. 

 

"This action does not contribute to the fight against terror" nor promote the reform President Bush is seeking in the Palestinian Authority, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said in a statement. 

 

Israeli police closed the Al Quds University offices of its president, Sari Nusseibeh, on Tuesday. Fleischer's statement called the closure "a troubling event" and said Bush had called for "opening the political landscape to moderate voices." 

 

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell intends to meet in New York on Monday U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, European Union diplomat Javier Solana and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on the potential for changes in the Palestinian leadership and prospects for renewed peacemaking. 

 

Annan was trying to arrange talks next week also with officials from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. Powell, said State Department spokesman Philip Reeker, "is always interested in meeting with Arab counterparts." But "at this point, I don't have anything specific for you on any further meetings," he said. (Albawaba.com) 

 

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