- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 19, 2006

ISRAEL

Lebanon pullout likely by weekend

JERUSALEM — Israeli forces will leave Lebanon by Friday in time for the Jewish new year, army chief Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz was quoted as saying yesterday, closing the curtain on a two-month presence in the war-battered south.

Gen. Halutz told parliament’s foreign affairs and defense committee “he hoped the last troops will leave southern Lebanon by the eve of Rosh Hashana [which takes place on Saturday],” according to a parliament official.

Israeli forces have remained in southern Lebanon for more than a month after an Aug. 14 cease-fire came into effect that ended the 34-day deadly war between the Jewish state and Shi’ite Hezbollah guerrillas.

Israeli troops have gradually redeployed south of the volatile border as French-led international forces, under a U.N. mandate, and the Lebanese army assume control in southern Lebanon.

IRAQ

Neighbors worry about war spillover

JIDDA, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia and fellow Iraq neighbors Iran and Turkey voiced concern this week that Iraqi sectarian and ethnic tensions could spill over into the region, home to a similar ethnic and religious mix.

“What we fear today is that the wise could fall in the traps of the ignorant, in which case Iraq, its unity and people would be victims,” Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef told counterparts from nine countries in a meeting Monday to discuss efforts to help Iraq quash an insurgency and quell sectarian violence.

“The dangers of such a situation, God forbid, are not a jeopardy to Iraq alone, but they will have an impact on the security of the international community and [Iraq’s] neighbors,” he said.

Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi and his Turkish counterpart Abdulkadir Aksu voiced similar concerns.

JORDAN

Rights group urges torture probe

AMMAN — A leading U.S.-based rights group yesterday urged the Jordanian government to investigate the purported torture and arbitrary arrests of suspects carried out by the intelligence department.

Human Rights Watch said in a 66-page report called “Suspicious Sweeps” that the suspects were arrested “in response to alleged plots, demonstrations and protest activities linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and United States policies in Iraq.”

Weekly Notes …

The remains of the children of Zionism’s founder Theodor Herzl will be transferred from France — where they were buried in 1930 — to Israel today after a solemn ceremony yesterday in the southwestern city of Bordeaux. Hans and Paulina Herzl will be laid alongside their father in the cemetery of Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. … Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, facing the most serious challenge to his 28-year rule, yesterday announced the arrest of a “terrorist” purportedly linked to his main rival in today’s presidential election. Mr. Saleh said the man had plotted attacks against U.S. interests from his position as a bodyguard for Faisal bin Shamlan, a former oil minister who is the candidate of the combined opposition.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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