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AP World - General News
Army backtracks on details about militant arrest at International Solidarity Movement
2 hours, 38 minutes ago

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.

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