- The Washington Times - Monday, January 26, 2004

IRAQ

Policemen killed, Americans targeted

BAGHDAD — Insurgents fired a rocket at the headquarters of the U.S.-led coalition last night after gunmen killed seven Iraqi policemen in a pair of attacks west of Baghdad.

Strong explosions reverberated through the heart of this troubled capital about 10:35 p.m., followed by sirens and a recorded message warning those in the coalition headquarters compound known as the green zone to “take cover.”

A coalition official said at least one rocket, apparently fired from across the Tigris, exploded in a parking lot near the Republican Palace, used by the top U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, and senior coalition staff, but it caused no damage or casualties.

FRANCE

Chirac faces outrage over head-scarf ban

PARIS — French President Jacques Chirac is facing growing political opposition to his proposal to ban the Muslim head scarf in public schools.

Even some of his ideological allies have begun to express doubts about whether such a law would be workable and what might be the price.

The government made clear yesterday that it was in no mood for dissent, with the bill set to go before French lawmakers next week. The Cabinet takes up the proposal tomorrow.

Muslims are not the only ones affected. The bill would outlaw Jewish yarmulkes, large Christian crosses and Sikh turbans.

EGYPT

Building collapses; 15 trapped inside

CAIRO — A 12-story building that had drawn police attention for what were said to be illegal renovations collapsed in a Cairo suburb during a fire last night, trapping some 15 persons and injuring 33 others, police said.

Rescuers pulled a fire department officer alive from the rubble, his face covered with dust. He was taken to an ambulance amid cries of “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great,” from onlookers.

All but two of the trapped were firefighters and policemen dispatched to put out the blaze, the officials said on the condition of anonymity. Hundreds of people lived in the building, but most had evacuated by the time it collapsed three hours after the fire began in a home-appliances store.

The owner of the building had illegally added four floors 12 years ago and ignored an order to tear them down, police said.


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