- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 12, 2007

ISRAEL

Rocket attack wounds soldiers

ZIKIM — A Palestinian rocket exploded in an Israeli army base early yesterday, wounding more than 40 soldiers as they slept in their tents and drawing calls for a major military operation against militants launching rockets from the Gaza Strip.

The injury toll was the highest ever sustained in a single Palestinian rocket attack. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met yesterday with top military and security commanders, but there was no decision for an all-out offensive in response, officials said. They said Israel might step up air strikes aimed at militants in Gaza.

The wounded soldiers were all recent recruits and were asleep when the rocket hit an empty tent.

TURKEY

Police defuse bomb in Ankara

ANKARA — Police found and defused more than 1,300 pounds of explosives packed into a minibus parked near a marketplace yesterday, thwarting what one official described as “a possible disaster.”

Bomb experts said the materials were similar to those seized in the past from Kurdish separatists.

The guerrillas have staged numerous bombings and suicide attacks in the past, but the bomb discovered yesterday was the largest ever linked to the Kurdish rebels.

SAUDI ARABIA

Abbas shrugs off talks with Hamas

JIDDA — Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said yesterday he discussed with Saudi King Abdullah a planned Middle East peace conference and the Palestinian political crisis but ruled out talks with Hamas until it returns the Gaza Strip to his authority.

Mr. Abbas, who then left the Red Sea city of Jidda for Amman, said he would meet Jordan’s King Abdullah II today.

The talks with the Saudi monarch centered on “the current Palestinian situation, chiefly in Gaza after Hamas’ coup against legitimacy,” he said, referring to the Islamist movement’s seizing of the Gaza Strip.

IRAN

Detained American may be released

TEHRAN — A detained Iranian-American told reporters visiting Tehran’s notorious Evin prison yesterday that he expected to be released soon after being held in solitary confinement since May.

Kian Tajbakhsh, a consultant with the Soros Institute, and Haleh Esfandiari, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, were separately detained for security-related charges in May while visiting the country.

Mrs. Esfandiari was released on bail last month. She returned to the United States in early September.

IRAQ

German hostage under deadline

BERLIN — The captors of a German man in Iraq, whose mother was freed in July, threatened to kill him if Berlin does not withdraw its troops from Afghanistan within 10 days, in a video posted on the Internet yesterday.

“We give the German government another 10 days to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, otherwise we’ll slit [his] throat like a lamb,” a spokesman for the Arrows of Righteousness Brigades says in the video.

The video shows Sinan Krause, 20, and his mother Hannelore, who was freed on July 10 “for having converted to Islam.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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