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As Terror Escalates, Israel to Free 400 Terrorists

The IDF caught a suicide bomber and another terrorist accidentally blew himself up; Prime Minister Sharon proposes freeing 400 terrorists, three weeks after demanding the PA stop terror.
First Publish: 5/29/2005, 12:19 AM / Last Update: 5/29/2005, 3:00 AM

Soldiers on Friday prevented the third attempted suicide bombing attack in a week when they nabbed a young terrorist with a suicide belt near Shechem. In a separate attack in Gaza, a Hamas terrorist killed himself and injured two others Saturday in a "work accident" caused by the explosion of a bomb he was preparing. On Saturday night, three Arabs opened fire on IDF soldiers near Jenin who returned the fire, killing one and injuring the other two.

In other Arab attacks, Israeli soldiers escaped injury when their vehicle ran over a road mine in Gaza. Arabs also fired an anti-tank missile at an IDF position in Gaza Saturday night, the third straight day they have tried to hit Israeli troops.

The escalation in terror comes two days after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced in Washington that he will propose releasing from jail 400 Arab terrorists. The cabinet will consider the request tonmorrow. The release would complete the Israeli commitment at the February Sharm el-Sheik summit, which obligated the release on condition that the Palestinian Authority (PA) disarm terrorists. After Israel released the first batch of 500 prisoners, Prime Minister Sharon stated on May 8, "Let it be clear. There will be no prisoner release before steps are taken against terror."

The Sharon government is doing a flip-flop on it previous stipulation that the prisoners being released must have fulfilled two-thirds of their jail terms. While Sharon says he will still abide by his promise not to free terrorists with "blood on their hands," it has been learned that several of those to be let out were involved in shooting attacks in which they missed their targets.

As in the first release of Arab terrorists, the Sharon government will require the released Arabs to first sign an agreement not to return to terrorism. Several of the terrorists released in the first round have been killed or re-arrested after attempts to attack Israeli soldiers and civilians.

Health Minister Danny Naveh (Likud) said Saturday night he is against the release. Likud Knesset Member Uzi Landau, who was a minister before being fired for opposing the evacuation plan, said releasing 400 Arabs should be conditioned on an American government promise to free Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a life term for passing intelligence information to Israel.