- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 5, 2006


Archbishop seeks more church security

NAZARETH — A Roman Catholic archbishop called for better protection of Christian sites yesterday after an Israeli couple set off a series of small explosions in a church in Nazareth.

Archbishop Elias Shakur, the top Roman Catholic official in Nazareth, issued a call for unity among Israel’s citizens and dismissed the attackers as lone extremists. While praising the Israeli response, he said it was “not enough.”

“It’s a big tragedy for all of us in Israel, for Christians, for having their most holy places spoiled and used in a barbaric way,” he said.

The couple and their 20-year-old daughter used a baby stroller to smuggle firecrackers and small gas canisters into the church on Friday evening. The church was not damaged, but several emergency vehicles were damaged in riots triggered by the attack.


Roadside bomb kills 4 intelligence agents

KANDAHAR — A roadside bomb exploded yesterday as a vehicle carrying Afghan intelligence agents drove by in a southern province, killing four agents a day after police clashes left eight suspected Taliban dead.

The attack occurred about 10 miles south of Lashkargah, the capital of Helmand province, a hotbed of the Taliban insurgency and the booming illicit trade in opium and heroin, said Asadullah Sherzad, provincial commander of the National Security Directorate. The bomb was detonated by remote control as the men drove toward the city in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

The bombing occurred a day after police killed eight militants and arrested 10 in the province, while gunmen on a motorcycle killed a Helmand district chief.


U.N. famine aid running out

EL WAK — The U.N. food agency will soon run out of supplies needed to feed about 3.5 million Kenyans facing prolonged drought because it has received a fraction of the required funding, officials said yesterday.

The World Food Program has enough cereal to last until April, but will run out of other staples by month’s end, program spokesman Peter Smerdon said.

The program needs $225 million to buy more than 33,000 tons of food each month until February 2007, but has received only $28 million, he said.

World Food Program Executive Director James Morris arrived yesterday in El Wak, 420 miles northeast of the capital, Nairobi. Food-program officials called the village an example of the effects of prolonged drought in the Horn of Africa, where 11.5 million people need food aid.


Arab League to open office in Baghdad

CAIRO — The Arab League will be opening an office in Baghdad in the coming days, an official from the pan-Arab body said yesterday.

Moroccan diplomat Mokhtar Lamani will head the Arab League’s office in the Iraqi capital, the official said.

Mr. Lamani, 55, was named to the post at a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo ahead of the Arab summit in Khartoum, Sudan, later this month, he said.

The Arab League had opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, and the failure to open an office in Baghdad was widely seen as indicative of that hostility.


Capital to host bird-flu summit

BUCHAREST — Specialists from five countries bordering or close to the Black Sea are to meet in Bucharest to discuss regional cooperation in fighting the spread of bird flu, the Romanian Agriculture Ministry said yesterday.

“The Romanian and Bulgarian agriculture ministers, Gheorge Flutur and Nihat Kabil, as well as officials from Turkey, Moldova and Ukraine will take part in this meeting,” which will take place tomorrow, a statement said.

Romania has registered 39 outbreaks of bird flu, making it the hardest-hit country in Europe, but there have been no human cases.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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