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Israel swoops on Palestinian 'militants'

JERUSALEM - Israel rounded up 200 Palestinians suspected of involvement with Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, in an attempt to curb a recent wave of attacks by Islamic militants, writes Sarah Helm.

A pre-dawn sweep was launched throughout the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Among those arrested were 25 Palestinians from Hebron, where Hamas has grown in strength since the massacre of Muslims carried out last month by a Jewish settler.

A Hamas spokesman said none of those arrested were responsible for any violent acts and many were not associated with Hamas.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, said: 'We will fight those who continue terror with all the means that are available to us. The only limitation is the limitation of the law.'

In Cairo, Israel and the PLO met for a third day of talks on Gaza and Jericho. The two sides are still arguing over an amnesty for Palestinian prisoners, including those from Hamas.

Six Palestinians deported by Israel left Cairo yesterday morning for the Gaza Strip. They are returning from exile under an agreement reached last week.