- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 25, 2009

EGYPT

Crude bomb used gunpowder, nails

CAIRO | The crude bomb that killed a French teenager and injured 24 others at a Cairo bazaar was packed with gunpowder and nails and detonated by a washing machine timer, according to a report by Egyptian authorities on the attack.

Sunday’s explosion was the first attack targeting foreigners in Egypt in three years. Many experts believe it was the work of a small, previously unknown extremist group or individuals, without any connection to the militants who waged war against the Egyptian state in the 1990s.

The homemade bomb, which weighed about 1 pound 10 ounces, included gunpowder, nails, small pieces of iron and bits of bricks, said the report, according to an Egyptian security official who read it. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

WEST BANK

Islamic courts get female judges

RAMALLAH | The Islamic courts were among the last male-only bastions in Palestinian society, where women have been presidential candidates, police officers and even suicide bombers.

Now, two stern-looking young women in Muslim head scarves and long black robes have smashed through the thick glass ceiling.

Khuloud Faqih, 34, and Asmahan Wuheidi, 31, made history in February when they became the first female Islamic judges in the Palestinian territories.

Across the Arab world, only Sudan has had female judges in Islamic courts, West Bank-based academic experts on Islamic affairs said. Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, all relatively progressive states in the region on women’s rights, do not.

TURKEY

Kurdish speech breaks the law

ANKARA | A Turkish Kurd lawmaker defied the law on Tuesday and gave a speech in Kurdish in parliament, which other lawmakers saw as a political move ahead of municipal elections next month.

Ahmet Turk, head of the Democratic Society Party (DTP), the main pro-Kurd party, was speaking to his party’s parliamentary group about UNESCO’s international day of native languages, he said.

He started speaking in Turkish and then switched to Kurdish, but after a few minutes the public television channel that broadcasts activities in parliament cut off the transmission.

Mr. Turk received a standing ovation from about 20 members of his party, but other political parties denounced his initiative, local media reported.

YEMEN

3 terrorists jailed in tourist attacks

SAN’A | A Yemeni court sentenced three Islamic militants to seven years in jail each for planning attacks on Western tourists as well as foreign and government targets.

A fourth militant received a two-year sentence. The defense lawyer for the four men said he would appeal the sentences.

Yemen has jailed scores of militants in connection with bombings of Western targets and clashes with authorities, but is still viewed in the West as a haven for Islamic militants.

Two simultaneous suicide car bombings, claimed by al Qaeda’s wing in Yemen, that killed 19 people at the U.S. Embassy in September were the biggest militant operation in the country since the attacks on the French tanker Limburg in 2002 and the U.S. warship Cole in 2000.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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