Palestinian Security Crackdown Debated

(AP/Washington Post) Sarah El Deeb - Masked Palestinian security forces have arrested dozens of Islamic Jihad activists in recent days. However, the crackdown has netted only low-level operatives, and some suspect the goal is to appease the U.S. and Israel rather than crush the militant group. Islamic Jihad leaders said many of those arrested were students, academics, or political leaders. "None of those arrested are wanted by Israel," said Daoud Mikkawi, 48, an Islamic Jihad activist. "If anyone is really linked to military actions, Israel will not wait for the (Palestinian) Authority. It will come and get them." A senior Israeli military official said that even though going after low-level officials was important, many Islamic Jihad leaders whose names Israel passed to the Palestinians have not yet been arrested. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said, "It is clear that as long as Islamic Jihad remains armed, it will have the ability both to kill innocent civilians and to kill chances for peace. What is needed is a continuous, ongoing effort by the Palestinian leadership to disarm these extremist groups."

2005-12-14 00:00:00

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