Civilian trial favored for Jericho captives

Israeli justice and security officials agreed at a meeting Thursday night that six Palestinians grabbed in an Israeli raid on a West Bank prison should be tried by a civilian court in Israel rather than by the military tribunals often used to prosecute alleged Palestinian militants. Israel has said five of the men seized in Tuesday's raid in the town of Jericho, including Ahmed Saadat, the head of the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, were involved in the 2001 assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi, The sixth is the suspected financier of an illegal weapons shipment to the Palestinians. The ship carrying the weapons was seized by Israel in January 2002. "Those present at the meeting were of the opinion that they should stand trial in a civilian court," a Justice Ministry statement said. The final decision rests with Israeli Attorney General Meni Mazuz.