Briefly: Middle East

BAHRAIN

Parliament accepts Shiite resignations

MANAMA — Bahrain’s parliament accepted the resignations Tuesday of the last seven lawmakers of the Shiite opposition in a move that could exacerbate sectarian tensions in the strategic Gulf island kingdom.

The move came as senior U.S. diplomats met with Bahrain’s foreign and justice ministers, urging them to open dialogue with the opposition in the wake of the deadly crackdown by the country’s Sunni rulers that suppressed anti-government protests, mainly by the Shiite minority earlier this year.

The lawmakers’ resignation were submitted in February in protest against the crackdown but had not yet been approved by parliament. The resignations of 11 other Shiite opposition members of parliament were accepted previously. They were members of Al Wefaq, the country’s largest Shiite party.

Bahrain’s 40-member lower house of parliament is left with 22 lawmakers and is controlled by Sunnis. Elections to fill the 18 empty seats are scheduled for September.

YEMEN

Officials: 3 killed in al Qaeda attack

SANAA — Yemeni security officials said two soldiers and a civilian were killed Tuesday when armed men believed to belong to al Qaeda attacked security posts in the eastern city of Mukalla.

Yemen’s active al Qaeda offshoot has taken advantage of the months of popular protests calling for the ouster of longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step up operations in the country’s weakly governed provinces.

In the attack, armed men opened fire on two security posts outside Mukalla, the capital of Hadramawt province, security officials said Tuesday, speaking on the condition of anonymity according to regulations. The attack killed two soldiers and one passer-by.

EGYPT

Mubarak’s wife released, still faces probe

CAIRO — The wife of Egypt’s ousted president was released from detention on Tuesday after giving up assets but is still being investigated, said an official leading a probe into whether she amassed wealth illegally.

Suzanne Mubarak, who denies charges that she abused her husband’s influence for unlawful personal gain, was admitted to a hospital on Friday after suffering symptoms of a heart attack. She ws detained in the same hospital as her husband.

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