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Army Deserter Confesses to Disco Blast

A 19-year-old army deserter confessed today that he threw a hand grenade into a Netanya discotheque last Wednesday which killed five people and wounded 21. Ezra Avraham, who has a past police record for juvenile delinquency, told a Magistrate in Netanya that he had intended to frighten the discotheque owner with whom he had quarreled and he regretted the casualties. He was remanded in custody for 15 days, pending trial.

Avraham was one of five men arrested Friday by a special police unit investigating the Netanya grenade attack. The five allegedly stole the grenades and other weapons from an army supply depot. A police spokesman said that Avraham had been inducted into the army under a special program to rehabilitate juvenile delinquents. Although a Palestinian terrorist group in Beirut claimed responsibility for the discotheque attack, police from the start attributed it to either a personal grudge or a war between rival gangs operating a protection and extortion racket against night clubs and discotheques.

In an unrelated development, Israeli security sources disclosed today that they have uncovered a terrorist network operating in the Tulkarem region of the West Bank, not far from Netanya. About 11 persons suspected of membership in the terrorist ring have been arrested in the past few days, the sources said. All were described as inhabitants of a refugee camp near Tulkarem who may have been organized into a terrorist cell by El Fatah agents. The gang is believed responsible for several acts of sabotage in recent months.

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