- The Washington Times - Monday, May 29, 2006

LEBANON

Heavy fire exchanged across Israel border

BEIRUT — Heavy cross-border rocket and artillery exchanges erupted along the Lebanese-Israeli border yesterday, and Israeli warplanes struck Palestinian guerrilla bases near Beirut and Syria’s border. Two guerrillas were reported killed.

The violence was the worst along the border since November. Many in Lebanon had expected a flare-up after a car bombing Friday in south Lebanon killed a senior official of the militant Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The fighting started overnight when rockets fired from Lebanon landed across the Israeli border. None of the militant groups operating in the south took responsibility.

IRAQ

Pro-American Sunni killed in Baghdad

BAGHDAD — A prominent Sunni Arab tribal leader who provided fighters to help battle al Qaeda in western Iraq was assassinated yesterday in Baghdad, police said.

Sheik Osama al-Jadaan died in a hail of bullets as he was driving in the city’s Mansour district, police Lt. Maitham Abdul Razzaq said. The tribal leader’s driver and a bodyguard also were killed.

Sheik al-Jadaan’s followers had helped U.S. troops track down insurgents living under the protection of a rival tribe in Qaim and in a cluster of nearby towns.

MEXICO

Season’s first storm threatens Acapulco

MEXICO CITY — The first tropical storm of the 2006 season showered light rain on the Mexican vacation resort of Acapulco yesterday, although forecasters warned the weather could worsen.

A fierce hurricane season last year devastated New Orleans, ravaged Mexico’s Cancun resort and left hundreds of Mayan Indians buried under mud in Guatemala.

Tropical Storm Aletta sat in the Pacific, 135 miles from Acapulco in the western state of Guerrero, with maximum winds at 45 miles per hour, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

IRAN

Khamenei praises president’s letter

TEHRAN — Ayatollah Ali Khamenei yesterday praised a letter sent this month by the Iranian president to his U.S. counterpart, in the Iranian supreme leader’s first public comments on the unprecedented message.

“It was a very good initiative because in the international field of global issues, taking initiatives, being brave, entering the arena pulling rivals behind you is the most important step to be taken,” Ayatollah Khamenei was quoted by state television as saying.

Despite its harsh criticism of U.S. policy, Iranian analysts and some officials saw the letter to President Bush as a bid to open dialogue with the United States. Analysts said it probably would not have been sent without Ayatollah Khamenei’s approval.

ISRAEL

Sharon transferred for long-term care

JERUSALEM — Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma for nearly five months, was transferred yesterday to a long-term care facility in Tel Aviv, hospital officials said.

Mr. Sharon’s transfer to the Chaim Sheba Medical Center signaled that his medical team did not think he was likely to emerge any time soon from the coma he fell into after a devastating stroke Jan. 4.

“We are expecting a difficult treatment because in his condition, complications are expected,” said Dr. Zeev Rotstein, head of Sheba. ”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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