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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

April 16, 2003


Palestinian Authority Demands U.S. Free Abu Abbas


GAZA (Reuters) - The Palestinian Authority demanded the release of veteran Palestinian guerrilla leader Abu Abbas on Wednesday, saying his detention in Iraq by U.S. forces violated an interim Middle East peace deal.

"We demand the United States release Abu Abbas. It has no right to imprison him," Palestinian cabinet minister Saeb Erekat told Reuters.

"The Palestinian-Israeli interim agreement signed on September 28, 1995 stated that members of the Palestine Liberation Organization must not be detained or tried for matters they committed before the Oslo peace accord of September 13, 1993," he said.

"This interim agreement was signed on the U.S. side by President Clinton and his secretary of state, Warren Christopher," Erekat added. There was no immediate Israeli comment on Abbas' arrest by U.S. special forces.

Abbas masterminded the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship in the Mediterranean.