RAMALLAH, WEST BANK
Most gunmen with ties to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement have given up their weapons as part of an amnesty deal that seeks to improve ties between Israel and Abbas' moderate leadership, a senior Palestinian security official said Sunday. Relations between Israel and the moderate leaders in the West Bank have been improving rapidly since the violent takeover of Gaza by Fatah's rival, the Islamic militant Hamas, in June. A major confidence booster for both sides has been an amnesty offer for gunmen from the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a Fatah offshoot that has carried out scores of attacks on Israelis since 2000.
Boy bobs for hours in the Dead Sea
An 8-year-old Israeli boy spent six hours floating in the Dead Sea alone at night after currents swept him away, police said Sunday. The Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth and one of Israel's most popular tourist attractions, has an extraordinarily high salt concentration that allows swimmers to float high on the surface. The boy, Shneur Zalman Friedman, from Jerusalem, was found about 2 miles from the shore early Friday after six hours in the strong-smelling, corrosive water, Yehuda Meshi-Zahav of the Zaka rescue organization said. The boy was dehydrated and frightened but otherwise healthy, he said. Shneur told his rescuers that he had remained calm, saying prayers and thinking about his school friends as he floated in the darkness.