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Woman in Israel Killed While Looking for Gas Mask

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Persian Gulf tensions have claimed their first Israeli fatality.

A 35-year-old mother of seven was killed Tuesday in Tel Aviv when she fell four floors after trying to retrieve gas masks for her children from an apartment from which her family had been evicted.

The woman, who was four months pregnant, had entered the apartment from a neighbor’s balcony and fell when she left the apartment and again climbed onto the balcony.

She was unable to locate the masks.

Her death came amid reports that Iraq sent Israel a message promising not to launch a missile attack on the Jewish state.

The promise reached Israel on Monday via Russian intermediaries, an unnamed official in the Israeli defense establishment was reported as saying.

Iraqi officials, however, publicly denied ever sending the communique.

Meanwhile, Israelis concerned about a possible Iraqi missile attack are flocking to distribution centers to obtain gas masks.

Israel Defense Force officials estimate that they are short some 200,000 gas masks.

Israel’s defense minister, Yitzhak Mordechai, said that supplies began arriving from Germany, Holland and Sweden, and that inventories were expected to be full within a matter of days.

In another development, the Palestinian police banned pro-Iraqi demonstrations after a number of protests staged recently by Palestinians turned violent and included calls for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to launch missiles at Tel Aviv.

The Palestinian Authority said the demonstrations violate the peace accords it signed with Israel, according to the Palestinian police chief, Ghazi Al-Jabali.

In the Golan Heights, hundreds of Druse marched in support of Saddam.

Unlike Palestinians marching in similar demonstrations earlier in the week, the Druse did not burn Israeli or American flags.

But a general strike was observed in a number of Druse communities, where demonstrators waved Syrian and Iraqi flags.

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