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Israel demands extradition of Palestinian police chief

September 23, 1997

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Israel formally requested Monday that the Palestinian police chief and four other Palestinians be extradited, but the Palestinian attorney general said his government would ignore the request.

Israel suspects Col. Ghazi Jabali of ``organizing terrorist cells within the Palestinian police and issuing instructions to Palestinian policemen to carry out terror attacks against Israelis,″ said a statement from the prime minister’s office.

The accusations against Jabali first surfaced several months ago, and the police chief has fervently denied them.

Palestinian Attorney General Fayez Abu Rahma said ``Israel has no right for this sort of request.″

``It is shameful,″ Abu Rahma said. ``Mr. Jabali is the commander of the Palestinian police, whose men participate in building this peace and in protecting security. We refuse this Israeli request. We are not going to deal with it.″

The Israel-PLO accords allow Israel to ask the Palestinians to hand over residents of the Palestinian autonomous areas suspected of criminal activity in Israel.

But the Palestinians have ignored all of the 36 extradition requests to date. In some cases they have given militants quick trials and jailed them, apparently because the accords do not require them to transfer someone already in their prisons.

Until now, Israeli authorities appeared to view the extradition requests primarily as a pressure tactic. But on Monday, Israeli Justice Minister Tsahi Hanegbi told Israel Radio that his government would no longer allow the Palestinians to ignore the requests.

The four other Palestinians Israel wants are Hamas members Muhi a-Din Sharif _ reputedly a top leader in the group _ Abd al-Majid Dudin, Imjad Muhammad Hinawi and Nafez Mahmoud Sabih, the statement said.

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