- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 14, 2002

JERUSALEM Iraq will pay as much as $5,000 each to Palestinians whose homes are demolished in the Israeli campaign against suspected militants, a pro-Iraqi group said yesterday, hinting also that Iraq is supplying weapons to the Palestinians.
Iraq has been trying to counteract Israel's efforts to deter militants by punishing their families. It has paid compensation to families of Palestinians killed in two years of Israeli-Palestinian fighting and to relatives of suicide bombers.
In all, Iraq has contributed from $30 million to $35 million to the Palestinians since the start of the fighting, said Ibrahim Zannen, a spokesman for the Arab Liberation Front, a small pro-Iraqi Palestinian faction in Gaza.
Earlier this year, Iraq began paying $5,000 to $25,000 each to Palestinians whose homes were destroyed in Israeli military raids in two refugee camps that have been hardest hit in the fighting.
In those raids, homes were not targeted for deterrence and because of their occupants but because the buildings were close to military outposts, in the path of tanks or used by gunmen as occasional shelter.
As part of its new policy of deterrence, Israel began in mid-July to demolish the homes of suspected Palestinian militants. More than two dozen homes have been razed so far. Mr. Zannen said each of those families would receive as much as $5,000 as Iraq stepped up support for Palestinian militants.
Iraq is supporting the Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation in other ways, Mr. Zannen said, hinting that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is also supplying arms.
Asked about Iraqi weapons shipments to the Palestinians, he said, "Iraq is supporting the Palestinian uprising by all means."
The Israeli daily Haaretz reported yesterday that the military has spotted new signs of attempts to smuggle Iraqi weapons into the West Bank and Gaza across the Jordanian border.
The paper, quoting unnamed Israeli defense sources, said Iraq was trying to promote Palestinian terror attacks against Israel to shift the world's focus away from the U.S.-Iraqi confrontation, and to open a second front in case of an American attack.

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