- The Washington Times - Monday, October 3, 2005

GAZA STRIP

Palestinian infighting leaves dozens hurt

GAZA CITY — A Gaza police commander and two civilians were killed in battles with Hamas gunmen yesterday in the worst outbreak of Palestinian infighting since Israel withdrew from the coastal strip last month, police sources said.

Fifty persons were wounded when members of the Islamic group tried to storm a police station in a refugee camp stronghold outside Gaza City.

Hours before, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon agreed to an early meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who last week began to enforce a ban on public displays of weapons.

IRAQ

Human rights group criticizes terrorists

BAGHDAD — Insurgent groups in Iraq are committing war crimes by targeting civilians in mass killings, abductions and beheadings, a human rights group said today.

Human Rights Watch, which often has criticized abuses by U.S. forces in Iraq, turned attention in its latest report to terrorist groups such as al Qaeda in Iraq and Ansar al-Sunnah.

Human Rights Watch also said the disregard for the lives of civilians in the mostly Muslim country was backfiring in terms of popular support for the insurgency elsewhere in the Arab world.

BELARUS

Opposition picks physicist as challenger

MINSK — The fragmented political opposition in Belarus chose a former U.S.-educated physicist yesterday to challenge President Alexander Lukashenko in elections next year.

Inspired by the ouster of unpopular governments in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, about 800 representatives of Belarus’ opposition parties and movements named Alexander Milinkevich as their candidate in the capital, Minsk.

“We believe that Belarus will be next after Georgia and Ukraine,” said Mr. Milinkevich, who studied at the University of California. “Belarus will win freedom forever in 2006.”

NORTH KOREA

Nationwide rationing expected to resume

SEOUL — North Korea plans to halt the sale of grain and resume full-scale food rationing across the country, said a United Nations relief agency.

“As of Oct. 1, reports are that cereal sales in the markets will cease and public distribution centers will take over countrywide distribution,” the World Food Program said in a report posted on its Web site.

North Korea significantly scaled back its food-rationing system in July 2002 while introducing an economic reform program that increased wages. The reform measures failed, however, as inflation soared amid shortages of food and other goods.

Last month, North Korea asked international aid groups to stop all emergency humanitarian assistance by the end of the year.

BANGLADESH

Suspect arrested in 2000 bomb plot

DHAKA — Security forces in Bangladesh have arrested Mufti Abdul Hannan, accused of leading the Bangladesh chapter of the Islamic militant group Harkatul Jihad, police said yesterday.

They said Mufti Hannan had been in hiding since July 2000 after police found a powerful bomb, suspected of being planted by Harkatul Jihad activists, near a rally addressed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in western Kotalipara area.

The suspect appeared before a court in the capital yesterday, wearing a bulletproof vest, witnesses said. The court ordered that he be held for 10 days pending further questioning over the 2000 bombing and other attacks.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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