Arafat to Announce New Cabinet in Next 10 Days, Aide Says

Seeking to build support ahead of an election, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat will name a new Cabinet within 10 days to replace one that resigned in a showdown with the Palestinian legislature, his aide said Saturday.

Meanwhile, hospital workers in the West Bank town of Tulkarem said Israeli soldiers in tanks shot to death an 18-year-old Palestinian with heavy machine-gun bullets while they were reimposing a curfew. The army said it was checking the report.

In the Gaza Strip city of Khan Yunis, Israeli forces shot and killed a 21-year-old Palestinian on Saturday, hospital officials said. The army said he was with a group digging in a forbidden area where bombs had been planted earlier. Relatives said he was working on the family farm.

Arafat's old Cabinet resigned in early September to avoid a no-confidence vote. Its replacement was delayed by an Israeli siege of Arafat's headquarters compound, but aides said the new Cabinet would be named soon.

Arafat aide Nabil Abu Rdeneh said Arafat's Cabinet "will be appointed within the coming 10 days" and said it was "expected to include new faces."

"The new government will exert efforts to end the occupation, prepare for the elections and to continue the process of reform," Abu Rdeneh said at Arafat's headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Arafat has been under pressure by many Palestinians as well as by President Bush and other foreign governments to attack corruption and inefficiency in the Palestinian Authority.

Many also demanded that he share power, though aides said a plan to name a prime minister was dropped after the Israeli siege, which bolstered Arafat's popularity among Palestinians.

Israel began the 10-day siege after suicide bombs killed six people in Israel. While the bombs were claimed by rivals of Arafat, Israeli officials said he should have done more to stop them. Israel ended the siege on Sept. 29 because of U.S. pressure.

Palestinian officials said they will hold presidential elections in January, though Israel has a military grip on most of West Bank cities and around the Gaza Strip that it says is meant to halt attacks on Israeli citizens.

Palestinian officials said that representatives of European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana met on Saturday with members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, a militia wing of Arafat's Fatah movement.

Nablus Gov. Mahmoud Aloul said the Europeans urged the group to abandon suicide bombings and attacks on civilians in their quest for Palestinian statehood.

According to Aloul and Al Aqsa members, who insisted on anonymity, the Europeans said Palestinians would gain far more international sympathy through nonviolent resistance.

The Palestinians said the Europeans were told by Palestinians that Israel would continue building new settlements on their lands. They said they considered their actions self-defense.

Attempts by the AP to reach Solana representatives via telephone were unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, Tel Aviv Police Chief Yossi Sedbon said a restaurant security guard who blocked entry to a would-be suicide bomber on Friday "prevented a major tragedy."

The guard, Mikhail Sarkisov, detected the suicide bomb as the man tried to enter a beach-front cafe in Tel Aviv. Sedbon told Israeli television that when the man fled, Sarkisov yelled for help from guards at the nearby U.S Embassy who joined him in chasing the man down, wrestling him to the ground.