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ISRAELI CULT MEMBERS SURRENDER TO POLICE AFTER 25-HOUR STANDOFF

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A 25-hour standoff between police and armed cult members in suburban Tel Aviv ended Wednesday when three dozen cult members surrendered.

They had been holed up in their compound since early Tuesday, when hundreds of police moved on the stronghold to arrest the leader and 50 of his followers in a heated pre-dawn gun battle.Police fatally wounded one man Tuesday when he opened fire on a police helicopter with an automatic weapon.

Rabbi Uzi Meshulam and his followers had barricaded themselves in the one-acre compound in Yehud for six weeks, turning it into a makeshift armed camp. Guards with assault rifles had manned observation points atop a two-story stucco house, and the area was surrounded by oil barrels and sandbag fortifications.

Police had been trying to get the group to leave the compound on grounds that they carried unregistered weapons.

Meshulam's supporters, Jews of Yemenite origin, accuse authorities of kidnapping hundreds of newborns in the 1950s and giving them to Jewish families of Ashkenazi, or European origin. They demand an official inquiry.