Israel extends closure of Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip until Saturday night following dozens of terror warnings, 12 specific

Israel extends closure of Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip until Saturday night following dozens of terror warnings, 12 specific. Another 15 Palestinian suspects rounded up on the West Bank, 13 wanted on terrorist charges.
Heavy security is in place to guard against kidnaps of Israeli soldiers or civilians as bargaining chips for the release of the Jericho group, the accent on Israeli towns especially Jerusalem where Purim fancy-dress street parades are taking place. Extra guards have been attached to Israeli leaders and US and British missions.
The PFLP has threatened reprisals for the capture of its leader Ahmed Sadaat, who surrendered to an IDF-police commando force after a ten-hour siege of Jericho prison Tuesday. Protest strikes and demonstrations were also staged in Palestinian areas.
All 10 foreigners Palestinian kidnapped in the course of the siege have been freed, but the United Nations, Red Cross and other international aid workers crossed the Gaza Strip into Israel after the British cultural center and European Union offices were torched and trashed.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas cut short his European talks Wednesday and returned home after Hamas showed itself unequal to handling the crisis in a way befitting a party in government.
Abbas visited the Jericho prison Wednesday afternoon and called Tuesday’s IDF raid “an unforgivable crime, an insult to the Palestinian people and a violation of all agreements.”
The Israeli force raided the West Bank prison when the American and British overseers posted there under an international accord signed by the PA left their posts, accusing the Palestinians of failing in their obligation to provide for their safety. Sadaat, jailed for ordering the assassination of Israel’s tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi four years ago, the 4 PLFP gunmen who carried out the murder at the Hyatt hotel in Jerusalem and the Karin-A arms smuggling ship’s backer Ahmed Shoubaki gave themselves up, after most of the prison had been knocked down by Israeli bulldozers. Earlier, the Palestinian warders guarding them surrendered to the siege force.
Throughout the day, Sadaat declared he would “die with honor with weapon in hand” rather than surrender. Two Palestinian security men were killed, 24 injured. No Israeli casualties.
The operation, welcomed by all of Israel’s parties and public, placed acting prime minister Ehud Olmert’s Kadima party further ahead of its nearest rivals, Likud and Labor,two weeks before the national election.
debkafile‘s Palestinian sources report that Mahmoud Abbas ordered Sadaat freed before he set out for Europe, after nominating him for a senior ministerial post in the next Palestinian government. The Sadaat appointment was the deciding point that broke the standoff in Hamas-Fatah coalition negotiations.

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