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News Brief

June 18, 2003
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Israel denied rumors that Marwan Barghouti, the jailed leader of the Fatah movement in the West Bank, would be released. The denial followed reports Tuesday that Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat phoned Barghouti’s wife Monday night and told her that her husband would be freed within the next 48 hours. In addition, there is speculation that Palestinians are demanding Barghouti’s release as part of calls to free Palestinian prisoners under the “road map” peace plan. Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Ze’ev Boim said the rumors are baseless and that the legal proceedings against Barghouti would continue, Israel Radio reported. Barghouti is on trial in Israel for allegedly organizing terrorist attacks in which dozens of Israelis were killed.

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