Al Capone is Back, But Where is Eliot Ness?

September 20, 2006

In News

Israeli troops have raided a bank and the offices of money-changers in West Bank towns, confiscating funds they say were intended to fund militants.

The army said it seized almost $1.5m (£0.8m) in raids on premises in Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarm and Ramallah.

The money had mostly come from Syria and Iran and was intended for Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants, the army said.

Palestinian sources have said that millions of dollars, documents and files were “stolen” in the raids.

At least eight currency exchange offices and a small bank were destroyed, the Israeli army said.

Israeli forces also said they had arrested two men, discovering pistols and hunting rifles in raids on their homes.

Some 5m shekels ($1.2m; £0.6m) and 170,000 Jordanian dinars ($240,000; £130,000) had been seized, the army said.

The Nablus branch of the Jordanian National Bank was destroyed in one of the raids.

Israeli security forces raided Palestinian banks in February 2004, taking from their vaults more than $9m (£5m) in what was said to be a move to choke funding to militants.

The 2004 raids provoked rioting among Palestinians and a threat from Jordan that it would sue Israel to recover funds seized from Jordanian-owned banks.

Gaza violence

Also on Wednesday, Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip killed a Palestinian man.

The Israeli military said he was a militant who’d been trying to remove rocket-launchers used in an attack on Israeli territory.

The army said one Israeli was injured when militants earlier fired rockets into Israel from the northern Gaza Strip.

More than 220 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Israel began a military offensive nearly three months ago following the capture of a soldier by militants in a cross-border raid.

Israel says it also wants to stop militants firing rockets into its territory.

Two Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza since the start of the offensive.