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Israeli Troops Shut Down Palestinian Telecommunications Corporation Offices - 2001-08-12

Israeli troops have shut down the Jerusalem offices of the Palestinian Telecommunications Corporation, as part of a continuing effort to end the Palestinian political presence in the city.

Israeli troops entered the offices of the Palestinian Telecommunications Corporation in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Dis and took control of the building.

The corporation is under the control of Palestinian Authority head Yasser Arafat.

The Israeli soldiers evicted about 15 Palestinian workers from the offices, shut down transmissions, and carried out searches of the building.

Palestinian cameramen attempted to film the troops, but were removed from the area by the soldiers.

Israeli Public Security Minister Uzi Landau says the take-over of these and other Palestinian institutions in east Jerusalem since Friday are aimed at preventing any further Palestinian political activity in the city.

The actions followed a Palestinian suicide bombing that killed 15 Israelis Thursday at a restaurant in the center of Jerusalem.

Friday, Israel took over Orient House, regarded as the unofficial headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization in east Jerusalem. For the third straight day Sunday, Israeli police and Palestinian protesters scuffled outside the building.

The Israeli action has been criticized by the United States, European nations, and Arab governments.

Visiting U.S. envoy David Satterfield planned talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders Sunday in a bid to prevent a further escalation in violence.

More than 650 people have been killed since the start of the latest Palestinian uprising last September.