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Israeli Police Raid Government Office in PM Corruption Probe


Israeli police have raided the offices of a government ministry as part of a widening corruption investigation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

A police spokesman says investigators from the National Fraud unit entered offices of the trade and industry ministry Tuesday, searching the premises and seizing documents. Mr. Olmert headed the ministry from 2003 to 2006, before becoming prime minister.

On Monday, police confiscated documents during a raid of Jerusalem City Hall, where Mr. Olmert served as mayor from 1993 to 2003.

Mr. Olmert is accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from U.S. businessman Morris Talansky. Talansky and the prime minister say the funds were legal campaign contributions.

Israeli police have questioned both men in recent days. Mr. Olmert has denied any wrongdoing, but says he will resign if indicted.

The newspaper Yediot Aharonot published poll results Monday indicating 59 percent of Israelis want the prime minister to resign because of the scandal, while 33 percent say he should finish out his term. Sixty percent say they do not believe Mr. Olmert's assertions of innocence.

Israeli Cabinet ministers from Mr. Olmert's ruling Kadima Party said Sunday they support his decision to stay in office while police continue to investigate the allegations.

Mr. Olmert has been the subject of several police investigations into his conduct before he became prime minister. But he has never been charged.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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