- - Tuesday, December 14, 2010

WEST BANK

Envoy: U.S. committed to Palestinian state

RAMALLAH | The U.S. will not be deterred by setbacks and will persevere until a Palestinian state is established alongside Israel, President Obama’s Middle East envoy said Tuesday after meeting the Palestinian president.

Envoy George Mitchell presented ideas on how to move forward, said Saeb Erekat, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He would not elaborate.

Resuming direct Israeli-Palestinian talks anytime soon seems unlikely because of Washington’s failure to persuade Israel to extend a curb on construction in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Mr. Abbas has said he won’t negotiate face-to-face as long as expanding Israeli settlements deepen control over West Bank lands the Palestinians want for their state.

Instead, the U.S. now plans to discuss the so-called core issues of the conflict, including the borders of a Palestinian state and security arrangements, separately with the two sides.

IRAQ

Bomb kills three at Shiite ceremony

BAGHDAD | A roadside bomb ripped through a Shiite procession commemorating the Ashura festival in western Baghdad on Tuesday, killing three worshippers, an Interior Ministry official said.

The attack, which struck at around 5 p.m. in the mostly Shiite neighborhood of Ghazaliyah, wounded 18 people, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Another roadside bomb wounded 14 Shiites in the town of Khalis, in Diyala province, 40 miles northeast of Baghdad, the official added.

The violence came a day after a suicide bomber blew himself up at another procession in the town of Balad Ruz, in Diyala, killing four Shiites and wounding 17.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Islamist websites eulogize Sweden bomber

DUBAI | Al Qaeda-linked Islamist websites on Tuesday posted a poem praising as a martyr a man named as Sweden’s first suicide bomber and calling for the destruction of cities in Europe, the “mother of dogs.”

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