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Israel keeps sharp vigil for militants

Ramallah, Oct 1 (Reuters): Israeli army sharpshooters took up positions overlooking Yasser Arafat's compound today amid reports some militants had slipped out after troops aborted a siege under US pressure.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, smarting from the humiliation of having to scrap the siege without arresting wanted men inside, predicted Israel would halt Palestinian “terror” within a few months and pave the way for political talks.

Palestinian security sources said marksmen were seen taking over several buildings with clear views of the presidential Muqata compound in Ramallah in an apparent bid to stop more militants getting away. The army had no comment.

Some sharpshooters were on the roof of the eight-storey Palestinian culture ministry, empty because of a curfew.

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