- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Dispute with U.S. on Turkmen eased

TAL AFAR, Iraq — U.S. and Iraqi forces allowed civilians to return to Tal Afar yesterday, signaling an end to a siege of the northern city that killed dozens of people and angered U.S. ally Turkey.

The lifting of the siege came a day after Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul warned American officials that Ankara would stop cooperating in Iraq if U.S. forces continued to harm the Turkish minority in the country’s north. Tal Afar is a center for Iraq’s ethnic Turkmen.

Civilian cars crossed the checkpoint on Tal Afar’s outskirts and troops searched others wishing to return. Police vans patrolled the streets as people moved cautiously back into town.


Settlers in Gaza due cash payments

JERUSALEM — About 8,000 Jewish settlers who are to be evacuated from the Gaza Strip under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan will receive $200,000 to $300,000 per family, army radio reported yesterday.

According to the report, an average family that has lived in a settlement for more than two years is likely to get $300,000. One of similar size that joined a settlement in the past two years is likely to get $200,000.

The figures were broadcast after the Israeli security Cabinet approved a compensation plan by a vote of 9-1 at a session chaired by Mr. Sharon. The sole dissenter was Welfare Minister Zevulun Orlev of the National Religious Party.


Young radicals diverted from violence

SAN’A — The government announced yesterday it had convinced nearly 300 young terrorist sympathizers that violence is not an option.

Judge Hammoud al-Muhtar, chief of the Committee of Mental Dialogue, said counseling sessions with 107 Muslim militants who returned from Afghanistan and with 176 followers of radical cleric Hussein Badreddine al-Houthy persuaded them to refrain from conducting terrorist activities.

Al-Houthy was killed last week by Yemeni troops.

Weekly notes …

Exiled Algerian Islamic leader Abassi Madani said yesterday he has begun a hunger strike in solidarity with civilians taken hostage in Iraq, chiefly two French journalists and two Italian aid workers. “This is a humanitarian duty because it is a humanitarian battle,” he told Agence France-Presse, calling on the kidnappers to “immediately free” the reporters. … Italy’s new EU commissioner, Rocco Buttiglione, called on the European Union yesterday to help Libya stem the flow of illegal migrants moving northward across the Mediterranean. “Libya has taken in a million desperate people from all over Africa and it needs to be reassured,” he told the nationwide daily Corriere della Sera. “The Libyans would be more cooperative if they understood that the cost … [will] not fall on their shoulders alone.”

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