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Arafat acts over arms ship

Arafat has been under intense international pressure
Arafat has been under intense international pressure  

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat Monday dismissed a top security official and issued arrest warrants for two other Palestinian officials in connection with a massive arms shipment intercepted by Israel earlier this month, an Arafat spokesman said.

The move came with Arafat under intense international pressure and in the midst of violent tit-for-tat attacks between Israel and Palestinians.

In early January, Israelis seized the ship Karine-A carrying 50 tons of arms in the Red Sea. They contend the shipment was authorized by the Palestinian Authority (PA), a claim the PA has denied.

Brig. Gen. Fouad al-Shoubaki, who was already under detention by the Palestinian Authority, has been dismissed and replaced by Muhammad al-Batrawi as the person in charge of military financial affairs.

Arrest warrants have been issued for Col. Fathi al-Razem and Adel Awadallah, who are currently outside the country. Al-Razem was dismissed from his position as deputy chief of the Palestinian naval police.

The United States, citing "credible evidence" the Palestinian Authority was involved, has called on Arafat to provide an explanation for the arms shipment.

Israel says the ship was carrying 50 tons of weapons and explosives -- enough to imperil every city in Israel -- and that the weapons originated in Iran.


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