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Report: Group targeted peacekeepers

Greek authorities on Sunday charged two alleged members of the November 17 terror organization in the assassination of American and British servicemen, and a newspaper reported the deadly urban guerrilla group planned to attack U.S. and NATO peacekeepers.

Police also arrested a 10th alleged group member in northern Greece Sunday as they continued dismantling an organization that killed four U.S. military officials and 19 other people in 27 years. Thomas Serifis, 36, who worked for the Athens public bus company, was being questioned.

A magistrate on Sunday arraigned three of the first suspected November 17 terrorists arrested after police achieved their first breakthrough against the group in 27 years after a botched June 29 bombing.

The Athens daily Eleftherotypia reported Sunday that the wave of arrests had foiled a plot by November 17 to attack a convoy of NATO peacekeepers driving from the northern port of Thessaloniki to Macedonia and Kosovo.

NATO has more than 30,000 troops in Kosovo, including about 5,000 U.S. soldiers. The force, known as KFOR, uses Thessaloniki as a logistical base.

The paper did not say when November 17 planned to carry out the attack, and police would not comment on the report. The paper said some of those arrested told police about the plot and that evidence was found at one of the November 17 hide-outs.

The ambush reportedly was planned for a convoy using a highway leading to the Macedonian border. In conversations with police, November 17 suspects said they scouted the highway and found locations "where they planned to strike American forces with rockets and car bombs," Eleftherotypia reported.

"Officials of the antiterrorist police were left speechless listening to people being held as members of November 17 developing the nightmarish scenario of war," Eleftherotypia reported.

The suspects charged Sunday were Iraklis Kostaris and Costas Karatsolis, two 36-year-old real estate agents. Kostaris was charged with participating in four killings, including that of U.S. Air Force Sgt. Ronald Stewart in March 1991 and British defense attache Brig. Stephen Saunders in June 2000.

Israeli says it can't deport all

relatives of suicide bombers

JERUSALEM _ Israeli officials, faced with an international outcry and a ruling by the attorney general, acknowledged Sunday they could not deport relatives of suicide bombers unless they were directly linked to attacks.

Separately Sunday, a Palestinian official said Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres had told the Palestinians that Israeli troops could withdraw from two West Bank cities in the coming days. Israeli officials denied the claim.

On Friday, Israeli officials had said they were considering deportation to the Gaza Strip for 21 people arrested in West Bank raids who were relatives of suspects in attacks last week that killed 12 Israeli residents.

On Sunday, Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein's office issued a statement outlining his position on the matter, saying deportation could be considered only for people "directly involved" in attacks.

Israel's government was generally expected to act in accordance with the attorney general's legal opinion.

Taiwan's leader grows impatient

with China's refusal to talk

TAIPEI, Taiwan _ Taiwan's president voiced impatience with Beijing's refusal to answer his calls for top-level talks to improve relations and said Sunday the island might "walk down our own Taiwanese road," an apparent high-stakes threat to formally declare independence from the Chinese mainland.

At the same time President Chen Shui-bian made one of his strongest appeals to Chinese leaders to open meetings on healing the split that began more than a half-century ago when Communist forces took over the mainland and Taiwan began resisting Beijing's rule.

"We'll use good will and sincerity to knock on the door and use confidence and action to open the door," he said. "We hope the other side can respond positively so we can jointly open a new era of relations across the Taiwan Strait."

Since he was elected two years ago, Chen has made several offers to hold a summit with Chinese leaders. But China has refused to meet him until he agrees that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China.

Chen has refused to accept preconditions and there has been no substantive progress on breaking the stalemate.

CHINA RECOGNIZES PACIFIC ISLAND: China established diplomatic relations with the tiny Pacific island of Nauru on Sunday, scoring a victory in its campaign to isolate Taiwan.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry statement said Nauru _ the world's smallest independent republic _ had severed its diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the island China regards as a part of its territory.

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