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Resistance group to uphold truce
Palestinian resistance fighters said they would uphold a ceasefire halting attacks against Israel's occupation after fighters confined to Yassir Arafat’s compound were allowed out of custody on Sunday.
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2003 12:49 GMT
Most of the fighters are members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
Palestinian resistance fighters said they would uphold a ceasefire halting attacks against Israel's occupation after fighters confined to Yassir Arafat’s compound were allowed out of custody on Sunday.

At least 17 resistance fighters will be allowed to remain in Palestinian president's Ram Allah compound provided they have contact only with their families and refrain from resistance attacks, said a leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades Kamal Ghanam.

The resistance fighters have been held at gunpoint since early on Saturday when they refused a request from Arafat to move to the occupied West Bank city of Jericho, said Ghanam.

The Brigades had threatened to break the ceasefire if attempts were made to move the men.

But after brokering a deal, Ghanam said the group would uphold the ceasefire.

A deal was negotiated between the Palestinian leadership and Israel with US mediation, he added.

Arafat had requested the fighters leave to ease political pressure on himself, said Ghanam. A fighter, speaking from the compound on condition of anonymity, said removing resistance members from the headquarters was an Israeli condition for allowing Arafat to travel.

Refuge

The fighters will be allowed to
remain in Ram Allah

In the past resistance fighters wanted by Israel have taken refuge at Arafat’s West Bank compound.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon placed Arafat under siege almost a year and a half ago. Sharon says the Palestinian President is allowed to leave but will not be permitted to return.

Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades is the armed faction of Arafat’s Fatah group. Fatah joined other Palestinian resistance groups in declaring a ceasefire on 29 June.

Man killed

In a move likely to increase tensions Israeli police shot and killed a Palestinian man as he drove on a road between Ram Allah and Jerusalem on Sunday.  

Meanwhile, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy was killed and four others injured while handling a hand grenade they found in the Deir al-Balah refugee camp on Saturday.

The origin of the grenade in the Gaza Strip camp was unknown.

Woman missing

In other news, hundreds of police were searching for a missing 18-year-old Israeli woman with authorities fearing she may have been kidnapped, reported Israel’s public radio on Sunday.

Dana Benett disappeared after leaving her work as a waitress in a restaurant in Tiberiad on Thursday evening.

In Israel's highly militarised society men and women are required to sign up to the army at the age of 18 for three years and complete a refresher course for one month each year thereafter. 

Fears Bennett had been seized were strengthened by reports that a soldier escaped a kidnapping attempt the same evening in another part of northern Israel.

Source:
Agencies
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