Speaking from Jerusalem, in an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio, on Sunday, Olmert said: "These are killers and of course we will try them in an Israeli court."

Olmert dismissed any notion a Palestinian court's conviction in 2002 of the four members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) for the killing of Rehavam Zeev, the Israeli Tourism Minister, in 2001 ruled out any trial in Israel.

"They were convicted by Palestinian courts in a hearing that lasted 20 minutes," he said.

"It was a farce. It was not a democratic court. They will be tried as they ought to be, that is what the Israeli government has decided, in an Israeli court."

Raid

Israeli forces stormed the
Jericho prison to seize the men

The four men, along with PFLP leader Ahmed Saadat, were seized by Israeli forces that raided Jericho prison on Tuesday after US and British monitors supervising their incarceration left the facility.

They were transferred to the jail in 2002 in an internationally brokered deal that ended Israel's siege that year of Yasser Arafat's compound in the West Bank city of Ram Allah, where the men had sought refuge.

Saadat was jailed by the Palestinians in connection with Zeevi's assassination but was never convicted of the charge.

Saadat's lawyer said on Thursday his client, held in an Israeli detention centre in Jerusalem, denied involvement in the killing, which the PFLP said it carried out to avenge Israel's assassination of one of its leaders.