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Friday, December 17, 2004

Terrorists Crash U.N. Party

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Palestinian [sic] Gunmen Upstage Jenin Ceremony.

JENIN REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank - Dozens of gun-toting Palestinian [sic] militants on Thursday marched into a U.N. ceremony to dedicate new homes for families whose houses were destroyed by the Israeli military — a sign of the authority gunmen still hold in this West Bank town.

The sudden appearance of Zakaria Zubeidi, the 29-year-old militant leader, and at least 20 of his armed men embarrassed the head of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, the body that administers Palestinian [sic] refugee camps.

Weapons are banned in the camps, but during four years of violence, armed gangs have taken control, building their reputations through deadly attacks on Israelis. The unarmed Palestinian [sic] police have been shunted aside.

Zubeidi, West Bank head of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a violent group linked to the ruling Fatah party, strode to the gate of the compound housing U.N. agency offices, passing signs on a fence showing the silhouette of a gun with a red line through it.

After a brief argument with a guard, he checked in his M-16 assault rifle with telescopic sight and walked in — a pistol clearly visible on his hip.

"Of course I don't condone it, but it's a fact of life," UNRWA head Peter Hansen told The Associated Press, referring to the violation of the no-arms rule. "Look around the camp. We can't stop it — we don't have guns."

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