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The Media Line Daily News Focus

1. ‘NO CONCRETE INFORMATION’ ON GAZA KIDNAPPING OF CNN PRODUCER… Neither Palestinian nor Israeli authorities have any concrete information on the kidnapping of CNN producer Riyad ‘Ali. Both surmise the seemingly obvious, that ‘Ali, an Israeli Druze, is being held by an Islamic terrorist organization. According to eyewitnesses, five armed Palestinians jumped out of a vehicle in front of the CNN Gaza City office at about 6:30pm on Monday. The gunmen specifically asked for ‘Ali and abducted him after he identified himself. Israeli security officials believe that the Palestinian Authority will ultimately bring about ‘Ali’s release, theorizing that the P.A. wants to avoid the embarrassment of the event. For a number of months Israeli officials have been warning foreign journalists of the danger of being in Gaza and of specific intelligence information indicating that terrorists want to kidnap journalists. In one foiled attempt, Former New York Times bureau chief James Bennett narrowly avoided being snatched when gunmen tried to push him into a waiting car.

2. ISRAELI JEW HELD AFTER KILLING PALESTINIAN TAXI DRIVER IN POST-1967 AREA… Israeli police are holding a 33-year-old Israeli resident after he shot and killed a Palestinian taxi driver at a junction in the post-1967 territory on Monday. The man drove to the Israeli community of Elon Moreh after the incident and told police that the dead man had tried to intentionally run him off the road. Police placed him under arrest. An investigation is underway.

3. BBC: ISRAELI OFFICIAL ADMITTED ISRAEL WAS INVOLVED IN DAMASCUS KILLING… The BBC is reporting that an Israeli security official told the network that Israel was, indeed, involved in Sunday’s killing of a leader of the Hamas terrorist organization in Damascus. Previously, Israel would neither confirm nor deny the widely-held assumption that it was behind the targeted killing of ‘Izz A-Din ‘Subhi A-Sheikh Khalil. The admission is unusual, and according to a Media Line analyst places the Syrian government in a quandary. While it had originally distanced itself from Khalil, even referring to him as a criminal, an admission of an Israeli military operation on sovereign Syrian soil begs the dilemma of a response that does not make Syria appear to be one with the terrorist organizations.

4. LONDON PAPER: AL-ASAD WANTS IRAN TO TAKE SADDAM’S NUCLEAR TEAM FROM SYRIA… Syrian President Bashar Al-Asad wants Iran to take a group of Iraqi nuclear scientists that he’s been hiding, according to a report in the London-based Sunday Telegraph. The paper says that Al-Asad is concerned that the presence of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear team will cause the United States to target Syria in the war against terrorism. The report says that 12 mid-level nuclear technicians and their families were sent to Syria before the fall of Hussein where they were given new identities and falsified papers. The paper alleges that the group continues its research, but now does it on behalf of Syria. It writes that Al-Asad himself made the request to Iranian leaders when he visited in July, but that the Iranians have yet to respond.

5. PRIESTS AND MONKS SQUARE OFF OUTSIDE CHURCH OF SEPULCHRE… While fighting in the name of religion is nothing new in the city of Jerusalem, the Old City produced a spectacle on Monday with an unexpected set of combatants. Franciscans were taken to task by Greek and Russian Orthodox worshipers for leaving open a door to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre during a prayer service. The argument quickly escalated into old-fashioned fisticuffs, with the Catholics squaring off against the Orthodox. Priests, monks, bystanders and police tussled near the traditional spot of the crucifixion and resurrection, resulting in at least five injuries, according to police. It’s not the first time tensions have boiled over. In 2002, a fight between monks and priests broke out over the position of a chair on the roof.