September 11, 2002
Twenty-five Palestinians on the Israel Defense Forces’ wanted list have taken
refuge in Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat’s compound in Ramallah,
Israel Radio reported Wednesday.
Among the 25 – the radio quoted senior Palestinian sources confirming their
presence in Arafat’s offices – are the head of the PA intelligence apparatus in
the West Bank, Tawfiq Tirawi, whom Israel has accused of being involved in
orchestrating terror attacks.
Also among the wanted men are the Force 17 commander in Ramallah
and his deputy, whom the radio said are responsible for attacks in which 15
Israelis were killed.
Some of the 25 have taken permanent refuge in the Muqataa – Arafat’s
compound – while others come and go.
Channel Two television reported Tuesday that Arafat had insisted that the
opening session of the Palestinian Legislative Council, currently underway in
Ramallah, take place in his compound for fear that if he exited the Muqataa
then IDF forces would move in and arrest the wanted men.
During the IDF’s siege of Arafat’s compound in April, several wanted
Palestinians took refuge there, including the murderers of Rehavam Ze’evi.They
were later moved to a Jericho jail as part of an internationally-mediated solution
to the standoff.