Thursday, July 31, 1997

In Ramallah, the PC votes (56-1) to urge Arafat to dissolve the EA within 1 mo., appoint a new cabinet. After the session, Israel prevents 18 PC mbrs. fr. returning to their homes in Gaza. (CSM, WP, WT 8/1; LAW 8/7; PR 8/8)

With less than 24-hrs. notice, Syrian Pres. Asad travels to Iran as head of a delegation comprising his VP, FM, several senior military cmdrs.; discusses Syrian-Iranian relations with outgoing Pres. Rafsanjani. (MM 7/31; RMC 7/31 in WNC 8/1; MM 8/1; SATN 7/31, IRIB Television [Tehran] 8/1 in WNC 8/4; MA 8/3 in WNC 8/5; MEI 8/8)

Jordan's Crown Prince Hassan, FM Tarawnah meet with EU special envoy Moratinos. (RJ 7/31 in WNC 8/1)

Following a mtg. with his inner cabinet, PM Netanyahu threatens to send commandos into PA areas to preempt any new anti-Israeli attacks, to halt transfer of all tax revenues to the PA, to jam all Palestinian radio and television broadcasts; calls on the U.S., international donors to halt aid to the PA. (MM 7/31; RMC 7/31 in WNC 8/1; CSM, WP, WT 8/1)

IDF detains 2 Palestinian families fr. the West Bank town of Dahariyya whose sons have been missing for over a yr., but they are unable to identify the 7/30 bombers' bodies. Israeli cabinet orders the arrest of PA's Gaza police cmdr. Brig. Gen. Jabali for encouraging attacks on Israeli settlements (see 7/23). PA police arrest 28 Hamas mbrs., including Rantisi. PA, Israeli security forces hold 2 mtgs. during the day. (MM 7/31; IDF Radio, QY, RMC 7/31 in WNC 8/1; CSM, NYT, WP, WT 8/1)

New York City police seize 5 pipe bombs, arrest 1 Egyptian, 2 Jordanians in a raid on a Brooklyn apartment. Police were tipped to the bombs by a Pakistani, Muhammad Shindli, who believed that his friends, Ghazi Ibrahim Abu Mayzar and Lafi Khalil (who both identify themselves as Palestinian), were planning to bomb the New York subway. Abu Mayzar had stated in his application for asylum in the U.S. that he had been arrested in Israel on charges of "being a mbr. of a terrorist organization." The 3d man, Egyptian `Abd al-Rahman Musabah, is detained as a witness. Hamas denies any connection to the men. (NYT, WP, WT 8/1; RJ 8/1 in WNC 8/4; NYT, WP 8/2; AFP 8/2 in WNC 8/5; NYT, WT 8/3; al-Hadath [Amman] 8/4 in WNC 8/5; NYT 8/5; WJW 8/7; MEI 8/8)

Unnamed Gulf diplomats reveal that Sidi al-Madani al-Ghazi Mustafa al-Tayyib, financial director for Saudi dissident and alleged "terrorist financier" Osama bin Laden, has been in custody in Saudi Arabia since 5/97. Saudi authorities have passed some of Tayyib's revealed information to the CIA, FBI to track militant groups in Detroit, New York. (WT 8/1)

Lebanese court sentences 5 Japanese Red Army mbrs. to 3 yrs. in jail on charges of forging official stamps, illegal entry into Lebanon, forging passports. (VOL 7/31 in WNC 8/1; CSM, WP 8/1) (see 7/29)