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Monday, 20 May, 2002, 18:54 GMT 19:54 UK
Jailed Palestinian 'planned attack'
Scene of the Netanya suicide attack - 19 May 2002
The attack on Netanya killed four, including the bomber
Israeli officials say that Palestinian prisoners held by British and American warders in the West Bank city of Jericho have been able to continue to plan suicide attacks on Israelis.

Officials have demanded Britain and the US impose tougher jail conditions on the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Ahmed Saadat, according to Israeli radio.


[We] approached the British and American wardens who are responsible for him to put him in isolation which is being done, but in this case, I'm afraid, it was a bit too late

Zalman Shoval, adviser to the Israeli PM
A spokesperson for the British Foreign Office spokesman said the UK had asked Israel for proof that Mr Saadat gave the go-ahead for the Netanya attack, in which four people, including the bomber, died.

The PFLP and the Islamic militant group Hamas have both said they carried out the attack.

Mr Saadat is being held under US and UK supervision under a deal that brought about the withdrawal of Israeli forces from around Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah.

The deal was intended to reassure Israelis that Palestinians detained by the Palestinian Authority would not be released soon after arrest and go back to carrying out attacks on Israel.

'Direct line'

Israel says that there appears to be a "direct line" between one of the prisoners held in the Palestinian Authority's headquarters in Jericho under US and UK supervision and the suicide bomber in Netanya on Sunday.

Ahmed Saadat
Israel says Saadat had access to a phone until Sunday
In an interview with the BBC, Zalman Shoval, a foreign policy advisor to the Israeli prime minister, said that Mr Saadat had access to a cellular telephone while in jail.

Mr Shoval said Mr Saadat was taking advantage of the wardens' "leniency" to continue organising attacks.

"I understand that our government has approached the British and American wardens who are responsible for him to put him in isolation which is being done, but in this case, I'm afraid, it was a bit too late."

The Reuters news agency reports an Israeli official saying that Mr Saadat had free access to a telephone until Saturday. But access was withdrawn on Sunday.

Israel has asked the UK and US wardens to restrict visitors to Mr Saadat, including journalists, and withdraw his access to television news, as well as all communication devices, Israeli radio reported.

Ramallah siege deal

Radio reports say that Israel had called for the same measures to be applied to Fuad Shubaki, an advisor to Yasser Arafat alleged by Israel to have masterminded an arms smuggling operation from Iran to the Gaza Strip in January.

Mr Saadat and Mr Shubaki and four other Palestinians took refuge in Mr Arafat's Ramallah headquarters during Israel's month-long campaign in West Bank towns.

The other four - members of the PFLP - were convicted by a makeshift Palestinian court for the killing in October 2001 of Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi.


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