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World Islamic body says Israeli arrests are crime

Written by: Staff
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RIYADH, June 29 (Reuters) The 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference today condemned Israel's arrest of Palestinian ministers as ''criminal'' and said diplomacy was needed to release a detained Israeli soldier.

Israel arrested one-third of the Palestinian cabinet earlier today, moving against the Hamas-led government while preparing to expand a military offensive into Gaza to free a soldier abducted by militants.

''These criminal Israel practices put Israel in an indefensible and unjustifiable position on the international stage,'' the Saudi-based OIC said in a statement today.

''These Israeli measures do not only constitute a flagrant violation of international law and signed agreements, but are also a brutal crime and aggression against democracy and the representatives of the Palestinian people,'' it added.

It said OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu called on the G8 group of industrialised countries to press Israel to accept diplomatic channels to secure the release of Gilad Shalit, a 19-year-old tank gunner.

Shalit was seized during an Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip on Sunday.

REUTERS CH RAI2047

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