- The Washington Times - Friday, August 18, 2006

IRAQ

Jordan appoints first Arab envoy

BAGHDAD — Jordan has become the first Arab state to send a fully accredited ambassador to Iraq, a major display of political support for the U.S.-backed government in the face of past kidnapping-slayings of Muslim diplomats.

Ambassador Ahmed al-Lozi presented his credentials Thursday to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

Egypt agreed last year to send an ambassador, Ihab al-Sherif, but he was kidnapped in July 2005 and assassinated before be could present his credentials. Two Algerian diplomats were kidnapped in the same month and killed.

Also yesterday, the government ordered a two-day vehicle ban in the capital to guard against car bombs during weekend rallies commemorating the death of an 8th-century Shi’ite saint. Seven Shi’ite pilgrims were fatally shot late yesterday as they walked through a Sunni neighborhood en route to the rally site.

ISRAEL

Official to quit in kissing probe

JERUSALEM — Justice Minister Haim Ramon, a key ally of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, announced yesterday he will resign tomorrow, clearing the way for him to stand trial on accusations he forcibly kissed an 18-year-old female soldier.

The announcement came a day after Israel’s attorney general announced plans to indict Mr. Ramon, who has waived his parliamentary immunity and his right to a special hearing.

Mr. Ramon, 56, is suspected of forcibly kissing the soldier during a farewell party at a government office. The incident purportedly took place July 12, the day the war in Lebanon erupted.

BRITAIN

Martyr videos found on suspects’ laptops

LONDON — Several martyr videos were reportedly discovered on at least six laptops owned by some of the 23 suspects being questioned in the foiled terror plot to bomb as many as 10 jetliners bound for the United States.

The British Broadcasting Corp., citing an unofficial police source, said yesterday that several videos of the type that suicide bombers sometimes leave had been found as part of the intense investigation into the purported plot.

The report came after police chiefs said hundreds of officers from across Britain joined in the massive investigation.

NORTH KOREA

U.S. officials see nuke-test preparation

SEOUL — Reclusive North Korea, which last month defied the international community by test-firing missiles, could now be preparing its first test of a nuclear bomb, U.S. officials have been reported as saying.

ABC News on Thursday quoted a senior military official as saying a U.S. intelligence agency had observed suspicious vehicle movement at a suspected North Korean test site.

NIGERIA

Troops raid slum in oil city abductions

PORT HARCOURT — Nigerian troops stormed a riverside slum in the southern oil capital of Port Harcourt yesterday, moving from house to house and shooting sporadically, forcing residents to flee, local radio reported.

A military spokesman confirmed that an operation was under way in Ilabuchi district.

Residents said the troops fanned out over a large riverside area along a road where kidnappers on Sunday dumped and burned a getaway car after abducting six foreign oil workers from a nightclub popular with expatriates.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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