US gov't expert tells terror trial of ME violence

October 25, 2006 02:59

A terrorism expert told a federal court jury that suicide bombers have killed hundreds of Israelis but a defense attorney said five times as many Palestinians have died amid the violent conflict. The testimony Tuesday came at the trial of suburban Chicago grocer Muhammad Salah, 53, and former university professor Abdelhaleem Ashqar, 48, charged in a federal racketeering indictment with bankrolling Hamas terrorists. Suicide bombings are designed "to undermine Israel's sense of public security," US Treasury Department terrorism expert Matthew Levitt said,adding that it sent a message that "you really aren't safe anywhere in the country." But Salah attorney Michael E. Deutsch said Palestinians have been victimized by the IDF far more than Israelis by Hamas. "Are you aware that 1,400 Israelis have been killed while 5,000 Palestinians have been killed?" Deutsch asked. Levitt said he did not know the exact numbers of those killed on both sides.

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