Mideast Report

JERUSALEM (JPS) — Jewish settlers said Monday their population grew by more than 12,000 last year, even though they often the target of Palestinian attacks.

The Settlers Council said 226,028 Jews were living in the West Bank at the end of 2002, an increase of 12,356, or 5.8 percent, from the previous year.

Al-Qaida trainee gets prison sentence

Gaza Strip (JTA) — An Israeli military court on Monday sentenced a Palestinian man to 27 years in prison for training with al-Qaida — the first such case since Israel began investigating possible links between Palestinian militants and Osama bin Laden's terror network.

The defendant, Nabil Okal, denied any connection to al-Qaida, saying he only received self-defense training from Islamic militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan.