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Army Retracts Claim that ISM Sheltered Armed Man

ISM Updates of 31 March 2003: Jenin

Jenin: Israeli Army Retracts Claim that ISM Sheltered Armed Man

In a very rare occurrence, the Israeli army has actually admitted that their spokesperson gave false information to the Associated Press regarding the incident in the ISM apartment in Jenin. The Israeli army spokesperson claimed that there was a pistol found in the apartment. Another spokesperson claimed that there were two Russian rifles also in the apartment. However, The Israeli Army website claimed that the pistol was found near the apartment.

As a result of these inconsistencies, the media office was able to track down one of the spokespersons. After much discussion and persistence with AP and the Israeli Army; we finally got an admission by the Israeli Army that there had never been any gun in the ISM apartment. As a result of the Israeli Army being caught lying, the AP published a new story, retracting their original story and even criticizing the Israeli Army. Below is the retraction, the press release from the ISM, and the original story as it appeared in the Jerusalem Post. If you have seen the original AP story in any of your local papers, please be sure that they get a copy of the retraction.

Army backtracks on details about militant arrest at International Solidarity Movement

Sat Mar 29, 1:21 PM ET

JERUSALEM - The Israeli army on Saturday withdrew its claim that a gun was found during a search of a West Bank office of the International Solidarity Movement, a pro-Palestinian group.

Israeli troops raided the office in the West Bank town of Jenin on Thursday and seized a wanted member of the militant Islamic Jihad group.

Originally, the army reported that a pistol was found in the office during the search. On Saturday, the army withdrew the allegation, saying only a weapon was found in the building, which also has apartments and the offices of two other international organizations.

"The information originally released was wrong," an army spokeswoman said. It was unclear where exactly the gun was found.

The army alleged that the Islamic Jihad member, accused of planning several attacks against Israelis, was being sheltered by the International Solidarity Movement.

The group, however, said there were clashes outside their office on Thursday when the man appeared in the stairway. A volunteer invited him into the office because he looked hurt, the group said.

"He looked terrified, was soaking wet and appeared to be in pain. Concerned about his welfare ... he was brought into the apartment," a statement from the group said. "He was given a change of clothes, a hot drink and a blanket."

The group said the man spoke Arabic and none of the members in the office could communicate with him. Shortly after he entered, Israeli troops arrested him.

He is still being held and has not yet been charged.

Members of the International Solidarity Movement often act as human shields, placing themselves in between Israeli troops and Palestinians.

An American member of the group was killed on March 16 while trying to stop an Israeli military bulldozer in the Gaza Strip (news - web sites). She fell in front of the machine, which ran over her and then backed up, witnesses said.

Israeli officials are still investigating the bulldozer incident that killed 23-year-old Rachel Corrie, a student at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.

For further information contact:

a.. Patricia on +972 67 529 587 or b.. Tobias on +972 57 836 527 or +972 67 437 690

Tom ISM Media Coordinator Beit Sahour Occupied Palestine Phone: +972-2-2774602 Cell: +972-67-862 439 web: http://www.palsolidarity.org


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