Kissing Cousins: Arafat Embraces Militants

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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip: That was quite an opener, but what will he do for an encore? On the first day of a two-day conference here, Yasser Arafat hugged and kissed Islamic militants including Hamas, the organization blamed for the recent double-suicide bombing and warned Israel a new revolt could be on the horizon.

But the Palestinian President, who is seeking to regain credibility in the wake of corruption charges, is not going to have an easy time uniting his people. Hamas continues to demand that Arafat release prisoners arrested after four 1996 suicide bombings.