Palestinian police move into Jericho

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JERICHO (Reuter) - Two buses carrying about 100 Palestinian police crossed the Jordan River and headed for the Gaza Strip late last night after apparently resolving a dispute with Israeli officials that had prevented their entry.

After hours of delay, the two buses crossed the Allenby Bridge in front of journalists waiting since Sunday for the Palestinian police to leave Jordan and deploy in the autonomous areas of Jericho and the Gaza Strip. The movement into the West Bank came after the Palestinian police first assembled in the Jordan Valley for the crossing - and after more argument and last-minute delays. The buses, with Palestinian flags waving, carried the new police force across after hours of confrontation between Palestinian officials and the Israeli troops, who have ruled the area since 1967.

Palestinian officials said they expected the remaining 200 to cross later in the evening and head to the Gaza Strip, where Palestinian police began arriving from Egypt earlier this week. Palestinians said Israel had blocked their entry until the PLO negotiator, Nabil Shaath, discussed the issue with the office of the Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin.

The Palestina Liberation Organisation has still not finished naming the 24-member body, known as the Palestinian National Authority, that will administer the Gaza Strip and Jericho. By yesterday Thursday afternoon only seven members had been named.