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WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Bush administration has concluded the Palestinian Authority and the Fatah faction of the PLO were involved in an abortive scheme to smuggle in 50 tons of weapons, a senior U.S. official said Wednesday.

The judgment was based on ``compelling evidence'' presented by Israeli intelligence, the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Yasser Arafat heads the Authority and also the Palestine Liberation Organization's Fatah faction. A senior Israeli security official said Arafat was deeeply involved in the operation, and he made that case to the administration on Wednesday.

Based on the Israeli briefings, the Bush administration believes Arafat may have been in a position to know about at least some aspects of the operation, the official said. He offered no evicence.

Israeli naval commandos seized the ship in the Red Sea last Thursday and confiscated 50 tons of rockets, C4 and TNT explosives, anti-tank weapons and other arms Israel said were supplied by Iran.

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