- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 7, 2004

EGYPT

Iranian diplomat named in death plot

CAIRO — Egypt said yesterday it has charged an Iranian diplomat and an Egyptian over a plot to assassinate an unidentified public figure.

The Egyptian, Mahmud Aid Dabbus, is accused of accepting $50,000 from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to kill the unnamed target and of spying for Tehran, charges that carry a potential 25-year prison term.

His reputed accomplice, who will be tried in absentia, was identified as Mohammad Reda Doust, who served in the Iranian interest section of Tehran’s embassy in Cairo but left the country about a year ago for another post.

ISRAEL

Israeli Arab held as spy for Iran

JERUSALEM — Israeli security forces have arrested Muhammed Ali Ahmed Ghanem, 56, an Israeli Arab suspected of spying for Iran, police said yesterday.

Mr. Ghanem was arrested Nov. 9, police spokesman Gil Kleiman said after a court gag order on the case was lifted.

Mr. Ghanem, a resident of the northern Israeli village of Baka el-Gharbia, will be formally charged in a Haifa court today, police said. The attorney for the accused said Mr. Ghanem, involved in a group that arranges pilgrimages to Mecca, had committed no crime.

LEBANON

Palestinian chiefs visit Syria, Lebanon

BEIRUT — After fence-mending talks in neighboring Syria yesterday, the Palestinian leadership is scheduled on a similar mission today in Lebanon, which rejects any permanent settlement of Palestinian refugees on its soil.

The visit is the first by the Palestinian leadership since Yasser Arafat, who died Nov. 11, was forced out of Lebanon a year after the 1982 Israeli invasion.

Palestine Liberation Organization chief Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia are to meet today with President Emile Lahoud, parliament speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Omar Karameh.

Weekly notes

Syria released 112 political prisoners yesterday under a presidential amnesty, the official news agency SANA announced in a move hailed by human rights activists and the Muslim Brotherhood. “This is a first step toward the release of all political prisoners,” said human rights lawyer Anwar Bunni. … Egypt raised the prospect yesterday of returning an ambassador to Israel soon, the official Mena news agency reported. Cairo recalled its envoy in November 2000 after accusing Israel of using excessive force against the Palestinian intifada that erupted Sept. 28 that year when Likud politician Ariel Sharon and 1,000 security men visited Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and entered the Al Aqsa mosque compound.

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