- - Tuesday, October 25, 2011

LIBYA

Gadhafi buried in unmarked grave at dawn

MISRATA — Moammar Gadhafi was buried at dawn Tuesday in an unmarked grave in a modest Islamic ceremony, closing the book on his nearly 42-year rule of Libya and the eight-month civil war to oust him.

A Gadhafi nephew read a prayer for the dead before Gadhafi’s body - along with those of his son Muatassim and former Defense Minister Abu Bakr Younis - were handed over for burial, said Ibrahim Beitalmal, a spokesman for the military council in the port city of Misrata.

The bodies had been kept in cold storage in Misrata for four days before being taken under cover of darkness to the burial site, which Mr. Beitalmal said was “not far” from the city.

As part of the ceremony, the bodies were washed in compliance with Islamic tradition. A Muslim cleric, a nephew of Gadhafi and sons of Abu Bakr then recited prayers before handing the bodies over for burial, which took place at 5 a.m.

Libya’s new leaders have said they would not reveal the location of the grave, fearing it could be vandalized or turned into a shrine for the former dictator’s die-hard supporters.

YEMEN

Government, rival forces declare truce

SANAA — Yemen’s government and dissident Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, whose forces have been engaged in bloody battles for weeks, reached a cease-fire agreement on Tuesday, an official statement said.

Tribal forces led by the powerful chief Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar, who backs the general and who has thrown his support behind the pro-democracy movement that has rocked Yemen, also agreed to the cease-fire, sources in his office told AFP.

The statement on the state news agency website said a committee that had been assigned to negotiate with the opposition forces “declared a cease-fire in the capital Sanaa that will go into effect [Tuesday] at 3:00 p.m.”

The truce, it added, has the “goal of … bringing calm … and ensuring the safety of the capital, its people and their properties.”

The statement added that the government and rival forces would remove checkpoints and barricades set up throughout the capital as deadly clashes and battles intensified between the feuding parties.

SYRIA

Opposition calls for international monitors

BEIRUT — A key Syrian opposition group on Tuesday called for international monitors ahead of a visit to Damascus by senior Arab officials probing ways to start dialogue in the country gripped by a months-long uprising against the regime.

The broad-based opposition Syrian National Council said there can be no talks with President Bashar Assad’s government particularly while it continues its military crackdown on protesters, which the U.N. says already has killed 3,000 people.

The group’s statement also called for a nationwide strike to coincide with the Arab officials’ trip.

The Arab ministerial committee, led by the prime minister of Qatar, is expected to arrive Wednesday to discuss the possibility of a national dialogue between the opposition and Mr. Assad’s regime.

The visit follows a meeting in Cairo last week by the 22-nation Arab League, which gave Syria until the end of the month to enact a cease-fire and start a dialogue with the opposition. Should Syria fail to do so, the League pledged to meet again to consider new options.

TUNISIA

Islamists take seats of Tunisians in France

PARIS — Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda party won four of 10 seats reserved for Tunisians living in France following the North African country’s first free election, according to results announced Tuesday.

Some 1.1 million Tunisians living abroad voted Thursday, Friday and Saturday for a constituent assembly, which will rewrite the constitution and appoint a president to form a caretaker government until fresh polls.

Of the 18 seats reserved for Tunisians abroad, 10 are in former colonial power France, home to more than 500,000 Tunisians.

Election officials said Ennahda was the big winner in France’s two electoral districts, taking 33.7 percent of the vote in northern France and 30.23 percent in the south, entitling it to four seats.

The party was followed by Moncef Marzouki’s leftist nationalist CPR, which took two seats; the secular left-wing Ettakatol party, with two seats; and the left-wing Democratic Modernists, with one seat.

Independent candidate Hechmi Haamdi, a wealthy businessman who runs the London-based Al-Mostakilla television channel, took the final seat by winning 10.17 percent of the vote in southern France.

In total, 119,468 Tunisians voted in France in the election, officials said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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