Arafat suspected of harboring fugitives

March 29, 2004 at 9:52 AM

RAMALLAH, West Bank, March 29 (UPI) -- Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat is providing a safe haven for known terrorists in Ramallah, Israeli intelligence said.

An Israeli Defense Forces document marked "confidential" and obtained by the London Sunday Telegraph lists 17 wanted members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Tanzim militia, said to be hiding in the Mukata. Al Aqsa has been behind several recent suicide attacks, including the past two bus bombings in Jerusalem that killed 19 people and injured more than 160.

At the top of the list is Kamel Ghanem, 27, a commander of the Al Aqsa group accused of planning several suicide bombings and of having taken part in gun attacks.

Second on the list is Khaled Shawish, a senior Tanzim fugitive with suspected links to Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Shawish is wheelchair-bound after a failed Israeli assassination attempt.

Sadah Abdullah, a nurse who worked for the Palestinian Red Crescent, confessed last month to interrogators Shawish had given her messages for Hezbollah when she visited the Mukata.

Arafat has been confined to his West Bank compound for more than two years.

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