Rabin murder plotted by group, Israel says

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The Independent Online
PATRICK COCKBURN

Jerusalem

The Israeli government yesterday said Yigal Amir did not act alone and was a member of a broader conspiracy to kill Yitzhak Rabin. "We think that there was a connection between a group of persons who planned and arranged the assassination of the prime minister," said Moshe Shahal, the Minister of Police.

"We think they established a form of organisation to assassinate the prime minister and other political persons based on their ideology to try to prevent the peace process," Mr Shahal said. Just before he spoke, police arrested two more suspects, bringing to five the number held. They also uncovered a large cache of arms at Amir's house.

Meanwhile the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat visited the widow of Yitzhak Rabin, Leah, last night to offer his condolences. The visit was kept secret until Mr Arafat returned to his base in the Gaza Strip.

In court in Tel Aviv, a judge ordered Dror Adani and Ohad Skornik to be remanded in custody. The police suspect Mr Adani, who first met Amir at a seminary where they combined military and theological studies, of complicity in Rabin's murder. Mr Skornik, who went to Bar-Ilan university, near Tel Aviv, is suspected of knowing of the assassination plot.

Mr Shahal said Amir could not have carried out the killing by himself: "Without the infrastructure supplied to him by other persons, it would have been impossible to assassinate the prime minister."

In the search of Amir's home police found explosives, fuses, delayed action devices and grenades big enough "to make any terrorist group proud". The assassination itself was carried out with a 9mm beretta using dum- dum bullets made by Hagai Amir, the killer's brother. Both Amir brothers are now under arrest. They were joined on Wednesday by Avivash Raviv, 28, head of the fanatical anti-Arab group Eyal, who says he did not take Amir's talk of assassinating Rabin seriously.

"You ask did he [Amir] say something. OK, so he did. But I didn't know about his intentions or I would have reported it, " he said. Police say they consider Mr Raviv a catalyst in the murder.

In court yesterday, Mr Adani prayed and Mr Skornik covered his hands with his jacket. Mr Shahal says more arrests are expected. Eyal, which is believed to have had fewer than 20 active members, started in the early Nineties at Tel Aviv university as a splinter group from Kach, a racist anti-Arab group founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane who was killed in the New York.

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