- The Washington Times - Monday, August 7, 2006

IRAQ

Government rehires 10,000 Ba’athists

BAGHDAD — Almost 10,000 Iraqis purged from their jobs in the de-Ba’athification program after the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein have been reinstated, the Iraqi government said yesterday.

“About 8,000 members of the ministries of Interior and Defense have got their jobs back, along with 1,800 people from the Ministry of Information,” said the head of an agency set up last year to help the fired workers.

“There are 700,000 who were deprived of their rights, 350,000 to 400,000 who are from the army. … Next week we will return 650 members to government establishments,” the official said.

JORDAN

Islamist lawmakers jailed over remarks

AMMAN — The military court yesterday convicted two Islamist lawmakers of instigating sectarian strife by praising Abu Musab Zarqawi as a martyr.

Abu Fares was sentenced to two years in prison, and Abu Sukkar to 1 years. “The words went way beyond the ethics of condolences at a wake,” the court said.

The defendants provoked widespread indignation in Jordan when they paid their condolences at the family home of Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born al Qaeda leader blamed for some of Iraq’s worst atrocities before he was killed in a U.S. air strike on June 7.

IRAN

Oil cuts threatened in case of sanctions

TEHRAN — Iran vowed yesterday to expand its atomic fuel work and warned that any U.N. sanctions aimed at halting its uranium enrichment would incur a painful riposte that could include a cut in oil exports.

Chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said Iran would expand the number of atomic centrifuges it was running. Centrifuges enrich uranium by spinning it at supersonic speeds.

“We will expand nuclear technology at whatever stage it may be necessary and all of Iran’s nuclear technology including the [centrifuge] cascades will be expanded,” he said at a press conference.

EGYPT

Islamist group denies uniting with al Qaeda

CAIRO — One of Egypt’s most prominent Islamist groups, which waged a bloody campaign in the 1990s, yesterday denied a charge that it had made any alliance with the global al Qaeda militant network led by Osama bin Laden.

“The Gama’a Islamiya in Egypt stresses the lack of truth in what Al Jazeera aired by Dr. Ayman al-Zawahri about it joining al Qaeda and categorically denies this,” the Gama’a said on its Web site.

Al-Zawahri, bin Laden’s top deputy, made the claim about the group in a video aired Saturday on Al Jazeera television. The Gama’a Islamiya declared a truce with the government in 1997.

SRI LANKA

Aid group reports 15 staff executed

TRINCOMALEE — Fifteen local aid staff working on post-tsunami rebuilding have been found executed in northeastern Sri Lanka after heavy fighting, the main umbrella body for aid agencies in the country said yesterday.

Reports and rumors said the aid workers had been killed. The Consortium for Humanitarian Agencies said a relief team that reached the battered town of Mutur had found the corpses in an aid agency office.

The consortium said it was not clear who had killed them. Mutur has experienced days of fighting between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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