Israel plans to hold on to West Bank towns

Israel plans to hold onto West Bank towns
JERUSALEM -- Israel insists on holding six West Bank towns until its demands are met, despite stiff U.S. criticism of the widest Israeli incursion in seven years.
While complaining bitterly about the Israeli stranglehold on six of the eight main towns in the West Bank, Palestinians also charged Monday that Israel was behind an explosion that killed a prominent Hamas militant in the city of Nablus.
In Washington, the U.S. government issued its harshest criticism yet of the Israeli incursion, rejecting Israeli arguments that the move was necessary in the wake of the assassination of Cabinet minister Rehavam Zeevi last week.
State Department spokesman Philip Reeker expressed regret over the deaths of Palestinian civilians during the operation, now in its sixth day.
"Israel Defense Forces should be withdrawn immediately from all Palestinian-controlled areas, and no further such incursions should be made," said Reeker.
The Israeli government and military did not claim responsibility for the death of Hamas leader Ayman Halaweh when his car exploded. But Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo called it an Israeli "criminal attack and a call for an escalation."
Adams calls on IRAto act on disarmament
LONDON -- Britain and Ireland awaited a breakthrough in Northern Ireland's crumbling peace process after IRA-allied Sinn Fein urged the paramilitary group to make a long-delayed move on disarmament.
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams called on Irish Republican Army supporters to act with "clear heads and brave hearts" in moving the peace process forward.
His statement Monday came within days of the likely collapse of Northern Ireland's power-sharing government, created as part of the Good Friday peace agreement of 1998 but hobbled repeatedly by the disarmament issue.
As in 1997, when the IRA announced a cease-fire a day after Adams publicly recommended it, his speech raised expectations of a quick IRA gesture.
"I don't think he would have called upon the IRA to make what he termed a groundbreaking move if he didn't expect a response," said David Trimble, head of the Ulster Unionist Party. He said he was waiting to see what action would follow.
The head of Northern Ireland's police force, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, said the statement meant that "something real will follow and follow very quickly."
Navy to take relativesto site of sub accident
HONOLULU -- The families of the nine Japanese men and boys who were killed when their fishing ship was struck by a U.S. submarine will visit the area where Navy divers are working to recover the remains.
Lt. Cmdr. Neil Sheehan said officials would take the families by boat to view the salvage area near the Honolulu International Airport today.
Six bodies have been recovered by U.S. and Japanese divers. The Navy says it's unlikely more than seven bodies will be found.
About 45 percent of the Ehime Maru had been searched as of Monday, said Capt. Christopher Murray, the Navy's supervisor of diving. The search of the entire vessel should be completed within 10 days, although divers will continue to search the wreckage after that to recover personal effects, he said.
On Monday night, Toshio Kojima, Japan's parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs, repeated an earlier statement of gratitude to the Navy for going through with the recovery operation despite turmoil caused by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The five men and four boys from Uwajima Fisheries High School were killed on Feb. 9 when the Ehime Maru was hit by the USS Greeneville during an emergency surfacing drill. Twenty-six others who had been aboard the ship were rescued.
Unsettling discovery
WATERBURY, Conn. -- Workers renovating a third-floor apartment where rowdy tenants used to live came across a startling find: an anti-tank missile.
State and local police were called in Monday evening to remove the 3-foot-long missile.
Police could tell it wasn't equipped to be launched, but they weren't sure about the warhead, Waterbury Police Lt. Edward Stephens said.
After a delicate removal, the missile was taken to the Waterbury gun range and detonated.
It turned out that the warhead wasn't live, Stephens said. He said he didn't expect any charges to be filed.
It wasn't clear how the unarmed missile got into the apartment or whether the former tenants brought it in.
Associated Press