Middle Orient

Zarqawi sending militants back home — minister

AMMAN — Foreign Al Qaeda militants waging a campaign of suicide car bombings in Iraq plan to send some fighters home in preparation for similar operations in their own countries, the Iraqi interior minister said on Sunday. Interior Minister Bayan Jabor said documents found with Abu Azzam, said to be …

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‘Iraq guilt’ mars morale, recruitment at British army — top general

LONDON (AFP) — Army morale and recruitment are suffering because troops are seen as “guilty by association” with Prime Minister Tony’s Blair’s decision to invade Iraq, Britain’s top soldier claimed in comments published here Sunday. General Sir Michael Walker, chief of the defence of staff, also said, in an interview …

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Commander says training of Iraqi forces on schedule

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The top US commander in Iraq said on Sunday that training of Iraqi security forces was “on track” playing down earlier comments that only one Iraqi battalion was able to operate independently. “The development of the Iraqi security forces is very much on track,” General George Casey, …

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Bush to crank up message machine on dangers of Iraq withdrawal

WASHINGTON (AFP) — President George W. Bush will this week attempt to rally Americans wavering on Iraq, as senior aides warn a quick exit for US troops could sow a deadly harvest of future terror attacks on US soil. Officials say Bush will give a “significant” speech on Thursday, the …

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Woman suicide bomber kills 6 in Iraq

BAGHDAD (AP) — A woman, disguised in a man’s robes and headdress, slipped into a line of army recruits and detonated explosives strapped to her body Wednesday, killing at least six recruits and wounding 35 near the border with Syria — the first known suicide attack by a woman in …

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Lynndie England jail term ‘travesty’

BAGHDAD (Reuters) — Iraqis expressed fury on Wednesday over the three-year jail sentence for Lynndie England, the US soldier notorious for holding a naked inmate by a leash in Abu Ghraib prison, saying it exposed American hypocrisy. They said the sentence would have been more harsh had she been convicted …

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Egypt proposes nuclear-free zone in Mideast

VIENNA (AFP) — Egypt Wednesday proposed the creation of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East and blasted Israel for standing in the way, at a meeting in Vienna of the UN atomic watchdog. Israel, believed to be the only state in the region with nuclear weapons, said it was …

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Sinai town resents state, fears radicalism

EL ARISH — Farhan Adel Farhan says he was electrocuted, blindfolded and suspended by the wrists when Egyptian police questioned him over bombings in the Sinai Peninsula last October. “Under torture, you can say things that never happened,” said Farhan, 33, who was among hundreds rounded up in the north …

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New phase of conflict in Mideast

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — It is a moot point whether the Palestinian uprising is over. A new phase of conflict is already taking shape in the Middle East. Fighting still centres on the Gaza Strip following Israel’s withdrawal from the territory after 38 years of occupation, but both sides concur that …

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Gaza pounded despite truce pledge

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel shut down charities with ties to Hamas across the West Bank and fired artillery into the Gaza Strip for the first time, as it widened a five-day offensive against Palestinian fighters, despite their pledges to stop firing rockets at Israel. A senior army officer said …

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