Palestinians kill three Israelis
Palestinian terrorists killed three Israeli civilians working at a fuel depot on the Gaza Strip border. Gunmen struck the Nahal Oz border terminal last Wednesday, shortly after a shipment of European Union-funded fuel arrived to be pumped in to Gaza. Along with the three Israelis killed, one other was wounded, officials said. Israeli forces gave chase as the assailants tried to retreat. At least three terrorists were reported killed. The attack was claimed jointly by Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees and Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade. They said their aim had been to abduct an Israeli soldier.
Olmert threatens Hamas
Ehud Olmert vowed Israel would take steps to incapacitate Hamas. The Israeli prime minister made his comments during a talk at a pre-Passover toast for Kadima activists at the party’s Petah Tikva headquarters, a day after three Israelis were killed by terrorists in the Negev. Olmert said Hamas would be held accountable for every attack in the south, no matter which terrorist group claimed responsibility, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Officials to meet Carter
Israeli government officials will meet with former U.S. president Jimmy Carter when he visits the country this week. President Shimon Peres, Defence Minister Ehud Barak, Shas Party chairman Eli Yishai and Israel Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman said they would meet with Carter, despite outrage in Israel over a planned meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Meshal in Damascus. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni both declined to meet Carter, citing “scheduling conflicts.” Leaders in Washington and Jerusalem reacted with outrage last week to reports that Carter planned to meet with Meshal. A U.S. State Department spokesperson said senior officials counselled Carter not to proceed with the meeting, and Democratic presidential contenders Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both said they disagreed with his plans. Carter had planned to arrive in Israel on Sunday and travel to Sderot on Monday.
Four young men confessed to violence in the service of a neo-Nazi cell. Four of eight alleged members of the Jewish state’s first known neo-Nazi cell accepted a plea bargain in Tel Aviv District Court under which they face jail sentences of between eight months and four years. The defendants, three of whom are minors, admitted to assaulting religious Jews and foreign workers, and vandalizing shuls. The four other suspects, believed to be the group’s ringleaders, are considering separate plea bargains. The group was arrested last year after a protracted police investigation. All are recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union, including some not considered halachically Jewish. The case shocked Israel and prompted calls for immigration criteria to be reviewed.
Vanunu seeks asylum
Nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu has asked for asylum in Norway for a second time, but officials there held out no hope he would be accepted. Vanunu, whom Israeli authorities have barred from leaving Israel, sent his application directly to Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. His first asylum application to Norway in 2004 was rejected.
– from JTA and Ha’aretz