Palestinian Police Arrest Suspects; Israeli Authorities Praise Crackdown

In the wake of a drive-by fatal shooting of an Israeli soldier this week, Palestinian police, acting on the direct orders of Yasser Arafat, detained over 50 members of the Islamic Jihad opposition group in the past few days.

Israeli security officials praised Arafat and the Palestinian police for cracking down on the terrorists.

In Sunday’s incident, for which Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility, Victor Shichman, an Israel Defense Force soldier, was killed and two others were wounded.

The crackdown also followed the stabbing of two Jews in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City on the eve of Rosh Hashanah.

The stabbings prompted Brig. Gen. Yigal Pressler, the prime minister’s adviser on terrorism, to issue a general advisory to Israelis and Jews around the world to be on special alert during the High Holiday period.

An Israeli Southern Command source described the crackdown as a “step in the right direction as far as the Palestinian Authority’s policy against terror is concerned.”

But, the source added, “consistency and time will eventually judge its effectiveness.”

Meanwhile, the Palestinian police released 10 members of the fundamentalist group on Thursday after questioning them.

Palestinian opposition groups, from both the left and from the religious fundamentalists, issued protest leaflets in the wake of the crackdown, accusing the Palestinian Authority of acting “like the Israeli occupation.”

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