- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 17, 2002

JERUSALEM Israel has reopened a harsh desert detention camp to hold some of the thousands of Palestinians it has rounded up during its 19-day sweep through Palestinian towns and refugee camps, an Israeli military official said yesterday.
Asked about the camp, the army declined to comment on the facility, which held prisoners detained throughout the first Palestinian uprising, from 1987-93.
In house-to-house searches that accompanied military incursions into the West Bank since March 29, the Israeli military says it has captured many suspected leaders of the Palestinian uprising.
Meanwhile, journalist Mohammed Daraghmeh, who reports on events in the West Bank for the Associated Press, was released late yesterday after being detained by Israeli troops in the morning during an arrest sweep of his neighborhood in the West Bank city of Nablus.
Mr. Daraghmeh, 38, and other men in his apartment building were handcuffed and taken away by Israeli troops, his wife, Mervat, said.
Israeli military spokesman Rami Mardor said that Mr. Daraghmeh was released late yesterday, but that he had not contacted his family or the AP.
Mr. Daraghmeh also works for the Palestinian daily Al Ayam.
Israel maintained that all Palestinians were subject to arrest, including journalists.
"There's no immunity for journalists. [Mr. Daraghmeh] is a Palestinian, and he was arrested like thousands of other Palestinians. He'll be questioned, and if there's no problem, he'll be released," said Dan Seaman, director of Israel's Government Press Office.
The Israeli military said that as of Monday morning, it had arrested 4,258 Palestinians in an operation code named Defensive Shield. Of those, 387 were previously known terror suspects, the army said.
Suspicions against others emerged during interrogation, and altogether about 1,200 men will be kept in custody, Israeli security sources said.
A military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the army has started releasing the remainder of the detainees, but that they were being freed in small groups and the process would take some time.
Marwan Barghouti, a senior official in Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, was arrested Monday.
Israel Radio said yesterday that Mr. Barghouti was being interrogated at Jerusalem police headquarters.
Security sources said most other detainees were being held at an army camp near Ramallah and several hundred had been transferred to Ketziot, a tent camp in a remote part of southern Israel's Negev Desert, a few miles from the Egyptian border.
The Israeli human rights group Hamoked said 800 Palestinians were transferred to Ketziot from an Israeli military prison in northern Israel on Sunday.
The military prison camp is known to Palestinians as Ansar III after the grim Ansar prison run by Israel during its military occupation of south Lebanon. Ketziot was first used to house Palestinians shortly after the December 1987 outbreak of the previous uprising.

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