- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 9, 2006

VENEZUELA

U.S. envoy faulted after mob attack

CARACAS — Venezuela condemned a crowd of protesters for pelting the U.S. ambassador’s car with eggs and tomatoes, but suggested yesterday there were areas in the country that the top U.S. diplomat might consider avoiding.

Venezuela’s acting foreign minister, Alcides Rondon, criticized the “excesses committed” as inexcusable, but said the U.S. Embassy was no longer giving police escorts advance word of the ambassador’s travel plans that might help avert such incidents.

“We must be clear: in our country’s political situation there are places where the presence of some people is not welcome,” he said.

Washington summoned Venezuela’s ambassador after the confrontation and warned him of “severe diplomatic consequence” if there is a similar incident again.

IRAN

IAEA inspectors arrive to visit nuclear sites

TEHRAN — Five U.N. weapons inspectors arrived in Iran to visit uranium enrichment and reprocessing plants, Iranian press reported yesterday — a visit Iran hoped would prove its nuclear intentions are peaceful.

The visit by the inspectors for the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, was the first since Iran announced in mid-February that it was suspending surprise inspections and removing agency cameras from some nuclear facilities.

The previously scheduled inspection comes ahead of a visit early this week by Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the IAEA, who is expected to encourage Iran’s hard-line government to concede on its atomic program.

ISRAEL

Missile strikes kill 8 Palestinians

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Two Israeli air strikes killed eight Palestinian militants yesterday in the latest signs that Israel has stepped up its retaliation for Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza since the Islamic militant group Hamas assumed power last week.

Six Palestinian militants were killed and five wounded when Israeli aircraft fired missiles after nightfall at a training camp in central Gaza, Palestinian officials said.

Earlier, two members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a violent offshoot of the Fatah party, were killed and a third was seriously wounded in an Israeli missile strike on their car in Gaza. The militants had just fired a rocket toward Israel and returned to their car when they were hit, the Israeli military said.

EGYPT

Mubarak says civil war has started in Iraq

CAIRO — Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has warned that civil war had started in Iraq, where three consecutive days of bombings killed about 100 persons, inflaming sectarian tensions.

“It’s not on the threshold [of civil war]. It’s pretty much started. There are Sunnis, Shi’ites, Kurds and those types which come from Asia,” Mr. Mubarak said in an interview aired yesterday on pan-Arab satellite television channel Al Arabiya.

Mr. Mubarak said the large Shi’ite Muslim populations in Arab states were more loyal to Iran than their own countries.

CANADA

8 bodies found in cornfield

TORONTO — A local resident yesterday found the bodies of eight men in a cornfield in rural southwest Ontario about half way between Toronto and Detroit, police said.

Ontario Provincial Police said the victims were found yesterday morning in or near three cars and a tow truck abandoned on the field or the dirt road beside it.

Initial press reports said the men had been shot, but police could not confirm this. Canada has strict gun controls, and gun crime is relatively rare outside major cities.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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