TEL AVIV (Sep. 20)
Israeli security forces have released the last of 450 Arab residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip who were arrested a week ago for questioning on suspicion of collaboration with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Police Minister Shlomo Hilles said it was standard procedure to interrogate persons known to have had contact with any terrorist group. He denied that Israel ever intended to hold the detainees hostage for 54 hijacked airline passengers held hostage by the PFLP in Jordan, A similar denial was made by Foreign Minister Abba Eban last week. Mr. Hillel acknowledged that pressure had been brought to bear on Israel from abroad to release the Arabs. About 70 of them, mostly women, were set free within 24 hours of their arrest and by last Friday only 143 remained in custody. Other sources said thai Israeli authorities ordered the round-up in order to put pressure on the PFLP for the safely of the hijack victims.