- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 30, 2007

IRAQ

5 U.S. soldiers killed in attack

BAGHDAD — Insurgents carried out a deadly coordinated attack on an American combat patrol, detonating a roadside bomb, then firing guns and rocket-propelled grenades at the soldiers, the U.S. military said yesterday. Five troops were killed.

Seven soldiers were wounded in the attack Thursday in southern Baghdad and were evacuated to a military hospital; one has since returned to duty, the military said.

LEBANON

3 die as troops fire on civilians

BEDDAWI — Lebanese troops fired at Palestinian civilians, demanding to return to their homes, at a besieged refugee camp yesterday, killing three protesters and wounding 50, witnesses and hospital sources said.

The witnesses said the soldiers opened fire first into the air as hundreds of refugees, including women and children, tried to storm through an army checkpoint and head to Nahr al-Bared camp, the scene of nearly six weeks of intense fighting between the army and the al Qaeda-inspired Fatah Islam militants.

ISRAEL

President resigns avoiding rape charges

JERUSALEM — Israeli President Moshe Katsav resigned yesterday as part of a much-criticized plea bargain that voided planned rape charges and the threat of jail time.

His resignation — two weeks before his seven-year term was to expire — takes effect tomorrow and clears the way for his indictment on lesser charges of indecent acts, sexual harassment and obstruction of justice.

The plea deal Katsav signed Thursday was a dramatic reversal by Attorney General Meni Mazuz, who had announced in January that he planned to try the president on charges of rape and other sex crimes — counts that could have landed him in prison for 20 years.

EAST TIMOR

Island peaceful as poll commences

DILI — East Timorese began voting today in a parliamentary election that could put the impoverished young country on a new path after communal violence last year.

The election campaign was mostly peaceful and security in the capital was low-key, with small groups of U.N. police with blue berets at polling stations.

Streams of people in the former Portuguese colony queued quietly in the early morning to cast their ballots in the third election in three months, following a presidential vote and runoff.

There are 14 parties contesting the poll, widely regarded as a showdown between the ruling Fretilin party and CNRT, a party launched by charismatic resistance hero Xanana Gusmao.

IRAN

U.S., allies lower nuke-freeze demand

VIENNA, Austria — The United States and its allies are reviewing a proposal that would commit the U.N. Security Council to hold off on new sanctions on Iran if the country stops further development of its uranium enrichment program, diplomats said yesterday.

The public stance by Washington and its key backers remains a full enrichment freeze — Iran not only would have to stop expanding its capacities, but also would have to stop reprocessing nuclear material and building equipment used for that function.

But the review reflects a potential compromise by accepting Iran’s relatively advanced enrichment program — at least initially — in exchange for renewed multilateral negotiations that aim at a long-term freeze and a rollback of the activity.

BOLIVIA

Charges dropped against American

LA PAZ — An American woman detained at the La Paz airport for entering Bolivia with 500 rounds of .45-caliber ammunition in her luggage was released Thursday and will not face charges, officials said.

Donna Thi Dinh, 20, was detained Wednesday night after airport security found five boxes with 100 bullets each in her luggage upon her arrival from Miami on an American Airlines flight.

She was bringing the ammunition for the military liaison at the U.S. Embassy who wanted it for target practice, the embassy said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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