- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 9, 2007

SAUDI ARABIA

King to reshuffle Cabinet soon

CAIRO — King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is considering a major Cabinet reshuffle soon, the first since he ascended the throne of the oil-rich kingdom, diplomats and Saudi press said this week.

The reshuffle may include key posts such as foreign minister, which has been held by Prince Saud al-Faisal for more than 30 years, and the influential oil minister, they said.

When Abdullah succeeded his half brother, the late King Fahd, in August 2005, he made no changes in the government. Saudis who have intimate knowledge of the discussions regarding the possible reshuffle said Prince al-Faisal, who has had health problems, might be replaced by Crown Prince Sultan’s son, Prince Bandar, a former ambassador to Washington.

JORDAN

Suspected terrorist killed in police raid

AMMAN — Police killed one suspected al Qaeda member and detained a second in a crackdown yesterday that foiled a terrorist plot against Jordan, officials said.

Several police officials were lightly wounded in the pre-dawn raid on a house in the northern Jordanian city of Irbid, the Petra news agency reported.

Security officials said the two men opened fire at the special security forces that came to arrest them.

MOROCCO

Man held in threat to French teacher

RABAT — Moroccan authorities said yesterday they are holding a suspected Islamic extremist who confessed to threatening a French philosophy teacher with death over a newspaper article criticizing Islam.

Robert Redeker, 52, a philosophy teacher from southwestern France, has been living with round-the-clock police protection since receiving death threats after his article appeared in September.

Moroccan Adil al Hyanne, 20, was extradited on Dec. 19 from Libya, where police said he admitted to having posted online threats against Mr. Redeker.

SYRIA

Four face trial for causing dissent

DAMASCUS — Leading opposition figure and writer Michel Kilo is to go on trial Jan. 23 before a criminal court in the Syrian capital, defense attorney Khalil Maatuk said yesterday. Mr. Kilo and communist activist Mahmud Issa lost appeals last month on charges of publishing false information and provoking dissent.

Mr. Issa will go on trial the same day, along with two other activists, Khalil Hussein and Suleiman al-Shummar, who are on the run, Mr. Maatuk said. Mr. Kilo and Mr. Issa were among 10 men arrested in May for signing a petition calling for Syrian recognition of Lebanon’s independence.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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