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IDF Chief Meets with Settlers After Six Bombs Found in Gaza

The Israel Defense Force chief of staff met this week with Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip to discuss security issues after six explosive devices were discovered in the area in one day.

Lt. Gen. Amnon Lipkin-Shahak told the settlers Monday that preventing terror in the area is high on the list for the IDF, but that there is no absolute security against terror attacks, even in Jerusalem.

The settlers expressed concern about the rise in attacks against Israelis. Shahak said he would look into the issues settlers raised regarding security measures.

Six roadside bombs were found in Gaza on Sunday. Israeli sappers safely detonated all of them.

One of the bombs, found near the Israeli settlement of Kfar Darom, reportedly may have been planted to kill Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat.

The bomb, which was hidden in a plastic barrel used as a road divider, was found only five minutes before Arafat was due to drive by on his way back to Gaza City from talks in Cairo with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

No group claimed responsibility for planning the explosives.

In another development, Peace Watch, an independent group monitoring the Palestinian self-rule accord, has released figures on Israeli casualties killed in terror attacks since the accord was signed by Israel and the PLO in September 1993 in Washington.

The group said 123 Israelis had been killed in terror attacks since the signing, an increase of 85 percent over those killed in the 18 months preceding the historic event.

Eighty-one people were killed within Israel during the period, compared with 42 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Although the number of Israelis killed had increased, the number of fatal attacks remained unchanged, the report said.

The higher death tolls resulted from attacks with multiple casualties, particularly suicide bombings, according to the report.

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