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Ethiopian Jews Reported Safe As Rebels Approach Addis Ababa

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The future of an estimated 18,000 Jews waiting in Addis Ababa to immigrate to Israel may be decided when Ethiopian government officials meet with rebel leaders in London on Monday to discuss a cease fire, sources here say.

The rebels, said to be about 19 miles from the capital, have rejected a cease-fire offer by the interim government but are delaying their entry into the city to avoid bloodshed, reports from Ethiopia said Thursday.

Israeli circles expressed hope that Addis Ababa does not fall before Monday’s meeting.

But for the time being, all seems well with the Jews in the Ethiopian capital and the handful of Israelis there with them, the Israeli daily Yediot Achronot reported Thursday.

Concern was expressed for their safety after Ethiopian President Mengistu Haile Mariam resigned Tuesday and fled the country.

Israeli journalists reporting from Addis Ababa said the city was tense but quiet except for occasional gunfire. The shooting was by armed citizens testing their rifles in case of a clash with the rebels, the reports said.

Yediot Achronot reported that foreigners were leaving by a massive airlift that has put a strain on airline offices and embassies.

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