- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 9, 2004

MOROCCO

Golden-tongued cleric draws worshippers

CASABLANCA — The magnificent Hassan II Mosque here has drawn unprecedented numbers of worshippers in this holy month of Ramadan, thanks to a 30-year-old sheik whose readings from the Koran enrapture the public.

Sheik Omar Kazebri, educated in Saudi Arabia, says he would like to reconcile respect for religion with modern life, and wishes religious fanatics would become moderate.

As many as 50,000 crowd the mosque to hear the man one listener called the most beautiful voice in Morocco.

SYRIA

Sand barrier keeps militants from Iraq

ABU KAMAL — In the middle of the desert straddling Syria’s border with Iraq, soldiers are using bulldozers to create a wall of sand intended to prevent militants from crossing into Iraq.

The barrier, which ran intermittently along the porous border, is being rebuilt, extended and floodlit. The work, which started more than a month ago, is supposed to make a 80-mile-long sand barrier 10 feet high.

Damascus undertook in September to tighten control of its border after being accused by Washington of turning a blind eye to militants who cross into Iraq to join insurgents fighting U.S.-led forces there. “We want to see Syria take concrete measures because words are not enough,” said U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield.

EGYPT

4,000-year-old coffin found empty

CAIRO — A German archaeological team has discovered a rare wooden sarcophagus dating from the 13th Dynasty (1785-1680 B.C.), in the southern city of Luxor, the first such find in nearly two centuries, the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities said yesterday.

Halil Ghali, a senior antiquities official for southern Egypt, said the empty sarcophagus, “is believed to be the biggest of its type.” It is almost 9 feet long, nearly 5 feet high, and 3 feet 4 inches wide.

No body was found inside the sarcophagus, which is believed to have been pillaged by robbers.

Weekly notes

Two Algerian policemen and an anti-government fighter were killed in a clash in western Algeria Monday night, according to reports yesterday. The French-language daily Liberte quoted security sources as saying a police patrol clashed with gunmen in Ghlisan province, 250 miles west of Algiers. … Israel began proceedings yesterday in Tel Aviv to extradite suspected mafia boss Zeev Rosenstein, 51, to the United States, where authorities hope to try him for international drug smuggling. About 20 of his associates are already behind bars in the United States.

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