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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 March, 2005, 15:10 GMT
Palestinians 'foiling militants'
A Palestinian security officer walks past a Palestinian checkpoint in the West Bank
Palestinian security forces have successfully reduced violence
A senior Israeli intelligence official has praised Palestinian security forces for preventing as many militant attacks as their Israeli counterparts.

Brig Gen Yossi Kuperwasser was speaking to the Knesset foreign affairs and defence committee.

However, he gave no figures and did not say whether he was referring to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip or both.

His comments came a day after Israel handed over security responsibility for the West Bank town of Tulkarm.

Last week, the Palestinian Authority took control of the town of Jericho. Talks on the handover of a third town, thought to be Qalqilya, are expected to begin in the coming days.

Brig Gen Kuperwasser, the head of the research division of Israel Defence Forces intelligence, said that during the past few weeks Palestinian security forces had "prevented no fewer attacks than the Israeli security services".

The effort by the Palestinian forces comes as part of moves by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to rein in militant groups.

After he was elected leader in January, Mr Abbas ordered the deployment of some 3,000 Palestinian police in northern Gaza in an attempt to halt rocket attacks on Israelis.

Last week, talks involving 13 Palestinian factions in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, secured a pledge by militants to continue to observe a conditional halt in attacks until the end of the year.




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