- The Washington Times - Friday, October 20, 2006


Haniyeh survives attack on convoy

GAZA CITY — Palestinian gunmen yesterday opened fire on Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh’s convoy, destroying one vehicle in a burst of flames in the latest violence between the rival Fatah and Hamas movements. Nobody was injured.

The attack came shortly after Mr. Haniyeh, of Hamas, brushed off threats by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, of Fatah, to dismiss the Hamas-led Cabinet. Mr. Haniyeh travels in a convoy of more than 10 vehicles and was thought to be about a quarter-mile away at the time of the shooting.

Hamas officials accused Fatah-affiliated gunmen of carrying out the attack. Fatah denied involvement.


914,000 fled homes, U.N. agency says

GENEVA — At least 914,000 Iraqis have fled their homes since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, more than a third since an increase in sectarian bloodshed at the start of this year, the U.N. refugee agency said yesterday.

The overall number is likely to be much higher, said Ron Redmond, chief spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

The agency has concluded that 754,000 displaced Iraqis remain in the country, while tens of thousands more have sought refuge abroad.

Mr. Redmond told the Associated Press that at least 40,000 Iraqis have arrived in Syria every month for the last four months.


Army calls U.N. envoy threat to military

KHARTOUM — Sudan’s armed forces said the continued presence of the U.N.’s top envoy in Sudan posed a danger to the army after comments he made about two major army losses in battles with Darfur rebels.

Jan Pronk said on his Web site that the army had suffered two major defeats, that generals had been fired and that demoralized soldiers had refused service in North Darfur in recent weeks.

President Omar al-Bashir, a military man himself, is likely to ask Mr. Pronk to leave the country. In New York, U.N. chief spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Mr. Pronk remained on the job in Khartoum.


Turkish soldiers arrive in Beirut

BEIRUT — Turkish soldiers arrived yesterday in Beirut to join the U.N. peacekeeping force in south Lebanon, making Turkey the first Muslim country to contribute ground troops since the mission was expanded after the summer’s war.

Two military ships moored at 9 a.m. in Beirut’s harbor. Turkish officials said they carried some 95 soldiers and civilian engineers. More soldiers were scheduled to arrive later in the day, bringing the number of Turkish soldiers and civilian engineers in Lebanon to 261.

The troops were expected to deploy near the southern port city of Tyre to help rebuild bridges and roads damaged in the 34-day war between Hezbollah and Israel.


Paris auctions off mayor’s fine wines

PARIS — City Hall unlocked its hallowed wine cellar yesterday to auction off nearly 5,000 top-end bottles, many of them leftovers from the lavish dinner parties of the longtime mayor, President Jacques Chirac.

Auction organizers expected to bring in up to $942,000.

Much of the collection was pulled together during the conservative Mr. Chirac’s term as mayor from 1977-95. The current Socialist mayor, Bertrand Delanoe, wants to sell off the wine as part of efforts to seek a less elitist use of city funds.

He also had the private mayoral apartments converted into a nursery for employees’ children.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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