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`We're martyrs-in-waiting'

JERUSALEM, APRIL 24. Dismissing threats from the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, to his life, the Palestinian Authority Chairman, Yasser Arafat, today claimed that all those fighting for the cause of Palestine were ``martyrs-in-waiting.'' ``I want to tell Mr. Sharon and his gang that the mountain cannot be shaken by the wind,'' he told a gathering of about 4,000 supporters flashing the V-sign at his headquarters in Ramallah.

``All of us are martyrs-in-waiting,'' he said. The people gathered there avowed their allegiance to the leader shouting that they would sacrifice their ``blood and souls'' for him.

In Gaza City, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades threatened today to launch waves of attacks ``without mercy'' if Israel harmed Mr. Arafat.

``Any attack against our leader will transform the Arab land into a volcano, and we will kill Zionists everywhere,'' a statement said.

The Brigades, an armed offshoot of Mr. Arafat's Fatah group, warned that any attack on Mr. Arafat would provoke a serious escalation in violence. ``We would ask all our militants to respond without mercy by striking all Zionists, soldiers and civilians everywhere indiscriminately, to respond to this occupation crime,'' it said.


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