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Israeli Forces Step Up Security Ahead of Jewish New Year Celebrations - 2002-09-06


Israeli police and soldiers have stepped up security in preparation for the Jewish New Year celebration which begins at sundown Friday. Security officials fear Palestinian militants will try to carry out some major attack against Israelis during the holiday.

Israeli police say they have had warnings of a militant attack over the Rosh Hashana holiday. Early Friday police were stopping cars coming into Jerusalem from outlying areas and checking documents.

Israeli police say they've been able to avert what they're calling a "mega-attack." A border police patrol stopped two cars near the coastal city of Hadera on Thursday. One of the cars was carrying hundreds of kilograms of explosives car and tanks of fuel. Police say they believe the materials were destined for use in a major attack in an urban area.

Early Friday Israeli security forces fired several missiles at a metal workshop in the town of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip. The building was destroyed, but no casualties have been reported.

Military officials justified the attack, saying the building was used as a weapons factory. The Palestinian owner of the workshop denied those allegations, saying his shop manufactured parts for electric generators.

The action follows two separate attacks by Palestinian militants on Thursday in which two Israeli soldiers were killed.

Israeli police have confirmed that they will demolish the family homes of four Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem. The four men are suspected of involvement in several attacks against Israelis that killed some three dozen people. Israel says the demolition of family homes of suspected militants is justified as a deterrent. Palestinians and human rights groups say the policy is a form of collective punishment and violates international law.

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