PALESTINIAN DEPORTEES RETURN

* About 100 suspected Muslim radicals deported to Lebanon nine months ago returned to Israel yesterday.

The Palestinians from the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip crossed the border from Lebanon in Israeli buses to the town of Metullah.

The Army said all the returning men would be jailed immediately for questioning and medical examinations. While their repatriation removes a focus of Islamist protests against Israel and moderates of the Palestine Liberation Organization, not all of the 396 deportees were released yesterday.

In all, 189 of the men were to return yesterday, Defense Ministry spokesman Oded Ben-Ami said.

The men were deported from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip last December after six Israeli troopers were slain earlier that month.

Israeli radio stations said eight of the 396 men had opted to remain in Lebanon, fearing long jail sentences in Israel.

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