Britain plans Mideast international force

March 2, 2004 at 6:22 AM
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TEL AVIV, Israel, March 2 (UPI) -- Britain is preparing a plan for the deployment of an international force in the Gaza Strip after Israeli troops withdraw, Israel Radio reported Tuesday.

The British proposal is reportedly designed to prevent chaos and seizure of control by the radical Islamic group Hamas once Israel pulls out. The suggestion was presented to Ron Prosor, a senior aide to the Israeli foreign minister.

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom is in London and was scheduled to meet Prime Minister Tony Blair and Foreign Minister Jack Straw Tuesday, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

Aides to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Monday discussed the pullback with U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Lawlessness in the Gaza Strip Monday night led to the assassination of Khalil Abu Zaaben, a journalist and adviser to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. He was shot outside his office in Gaza.

In separate incidents, a bomb exploded at the entrance to a mosque in Dir al-Balah in the Gaza Strip, and the Imam of another mosque was attacked, Israel Radio reported.

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