3 militants killed in Nablus raid
NABLUS, West Bank — Israeli troops fatally shot three Palestinian militants, including the local leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, during an arrest raid yesterday in the West Bank city of Nablus, witnesses and the military said.
Hours later, militants in the Gaza Strip launched a homemade rocket into an Israeli military base, slightly wounding five soldiers, the army said. Israel responded with an artillery barrage into Gaza that Palestinian officials said killed one person.
Meanwhile, Hamas and 10 other factions urged Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas not to delay parliamentary elections any further, even if Israel bans voting in Arab East Jerusalem.
Islamist leader calls Holocaust a myth
CAIRO — The head of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition force in parliament, echoed Iran’s president yesterday in describing the World War II Holocaust of European Jews as a myth.
“Western democracy has attacked everyone who does not share the vision of the sons of Zion as far as the myth of the Holocaust is concerned,” Muhammad Mahdi Akef said.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sparked an international uproar when he said in a Dec. 14 speech that the Holocaust was a myth.
Court fines writers for insulting state
ANKARA — An Istanbul court fined an author and a journalist yesterday for insulting the Turkish state, the latest convictions under a law that European officials said limits freedom of expression and must be changed.
Turkey’s government has indicated that it has no plans to change the law, under which the country’s most famous novelist, Orhan Pamuk, was also charged.
Zulkuf Kisanak, the author of “Lost Villages,” was sentenced to five months in prison, which was converted to a $2,200 fine. Aziz Ozer, editor of the far-left monthly magazine Yeni Dunya Icin Cagri, received a 10 month prison term, which the judge later switched to a $4,400 fine.
37 more charged with terrorism
TASHKENT — The Uzbekistan Supreme Court yesterday sentenced 37 men convicted in a closed trial of involvement in May’s violence in the eastern province of Andijan to jail terms ranging from 10 to 18 years.
On Wednesday, the court sentenced 41 men to jail terms ranging from 12 to 20 years. The latest verdicts bring the number of people sentenced so far in the Andijan unrest to 151.
Uzbek authorities have said 187 persons died in the violence. Human rights groups said troops opened fire on and killed hundreds of civilians.
U.S. Embassy warns of Christmas attacks
JAKARTA — The U.S. Embassy warned yesterday that the threat of terrorist attacks targeting Westerners in Indonesia over the Christmas and New Year holidays was very high. The Indonesian government also said thousands of troops would help provide security and protect dignitaries during the holiday season.
Maps and explosives obtained in a police raid on a terrorist’s hide-out last month indicated that the al Qaeda-linked militant group Jemaah Islamiyah was in the advanced stages of planning attacks, the embassy said in an e-mail to citizens.
Court orders Turkey to pay Greek Cypriots
STRASBOURG, France — The European Court of Human Rights ordered Turkey yesterday to provide effective compensation to Greek Cypriots who fled property, when the island was partitioned after a 1974 Turkish invasion.
The emotional issue of property — everything from farms to hotels and family homes — has proven to be one of the greatest obstacles to a reunification of Cyprus. Turkey is eager to speed a resolution to ease its negotiations for European Union entry.
From wire dispatches and staff reports