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700 More PA Troops to Hevron Before End of Sukkot Holiday

Confirmed: Deal in the works for Israel to allow 700 more PA paramilitary armed men into Hevron, potentially by the end of the week.
By Aryeh Haffner
First Publish: 10/13/2008, 10:55 AM


Thousands of Jews, perhaps more than 10,000, will likely visit the Me'arat HaMachpelah (where 6 Patriarchs and Matriarchs are buried) on Sukkot.
Security sources confirmed on Sunday that an agreement is being worked out by which Israel would allow the Palestinian Authority (PA) to field an additional 700 paramilitary PA security personel in Hevron.  It could happen by the end of the week, but Israeli sources indicated it might not happen that quickly.

The additional PA troops would work to maintain law and order among the city's Arab population.

PA sources claimed that the new troops would move into Hevron-area barracks this coming Friday.

Friday falls during the Intermediate Days of the Sukkot holiday, just after thousands of Jews, perhaps more than 10,000, are scheduled to visit the Me'arat HaMachpelah (the cave where six Jewish forefathers and foremothers are buried).

Israel retains sovereignty of the Hevron area.

Commander of the PA security forces Samih al-Sifi acknowledged that although the PA troops might be stationed there sooner, they would not begin large-scale security efforts until after the Sukkot holiday is over.

The PA troops in question were trained by U.S. troops, in Jordan. Their arrival would approximately double the number of PA troops operating in the Hevron area. They will also bring one vehicle for each four para-soldiers.