- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 17, 2001

'Iraq will hit Israel' if U.S. targets Saddam

JERUSALEM Iraq will strike Israel if the United States threatens Saddam Hussein, Gen. Amos Malkha, the head of Israeli intelligence, said yesterday.

The Iraqi president "will attack Israel if he feels the United States is threatening his control of Iraq," Gen. Malkha told the parliamentary foreign and defense committee, Israeli television reported.

The statement comes in the face of growing Israeli expectations of a U.S. attack on the Arab country, but Washington has promised to warn Israel before any such action.

The United States plans to expand its war on terror beyond Afghanistan and is closely monitoring Iraq, President Bush's National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said yesterday.

"There is no doubt that Iraq is in the sights of the United States, and sooner or later, the Americans will take this country on," Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Dalia Rabin-Pelossof said last week.

Defense Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer added that Israel was ready for this. "We do not take any risks, and we have taken into account the possibility that the war will spread to Iraq, and this time, we are well prepared," Mr. Ben Eliezer said.

Egypt sends over 250 to military courts

CAIRO In the wake of last month's terrorist attacks in the United States, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has begun a new show of strength against Islamic militants in Egypt, ordering more than 250 of them to be interrogated by military prosecutors.

Mr. Mubarak, who carried out a harsh campaign throughout the last decade against Islamic terrorism, yesterday sent 170 suspected members of the illegal group Jamaa Islamiya for investigation by military courts. Three days earlier, he sent 83 pro-Chechen Islamic militants to the same prosecutors.

The analyst, who asked not to be named, told Agence France-Presse that Egypt was criticized by the international community during the 1990s for trying civilians in military courts. "Now they are being applauded for the same thing," he added.

Two Turkish soldiers die in rocket ambush

ANKARA, Turkey Underground militants killed two Turkish soldiers in a rocket ambush in the northern province of Tokat yesterday, Anatolia news agency reported.

The militants fired on security forces operating in a rural area near the town of Almus.

The report did not say to which group the militants belong, but far-left underground groups, including the Turkish Workers' and Peasants' Liberation Army, are active in Tokat and the neighboring provinces of Corum and Amasya.

Weekly notes

Armenian President Robert Kocharian will visit neighboring Iran Nov. 10-12, the Armenian Embassy in Tehran said yesterday. Azerbaijan's president, Heydar Aliyev, whose ties with Iran have been strained over allocating resources in the Caspian Sea, put off a visit to Tehran on Sept. 17. Abdelouahed Belkeziz, secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, arrived in Turkey yesterday to meet with Turkish leaders and participate in a two-day OIC gathering starting Friday.

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