PFLP leader Ahmed Saadat captured by Israeli forces

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ahmed Saadat, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and five other Palestinians surrendered after Israeli troops stormed the jail in the West Bank town of Jericho. Israeli general Yair Naveh announced that the operation was successful.

Israel accuses Saadat of involvement in the October 17, 2001, assassination of Rehavam Zeevi, then Minister of Tourism. The Palestinian Authority jailed Saadat in 2002, under the terms of an international agreement and under the supervision of monitors from the United Kingdom and the United States.

Israel launched the raid soon after the monitors left the jail complaining that the Palestinian Authority had given them insufficient security. Israel quickly arrested and searched many of the prisoners, but a few prisoners, among them Saadat, fortified themselves in the jail, even as Israel proceeded to bulldoze it.

Saadat is now in Israeli custody for the first time. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas complained that the UK and US monitors were responsible for the prisoners' security and that their withdrawal violated the international agreement.