- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 13, 2008

IRAQ

Red Cross campaigns for food, medicine

GENEVA — The international Red Cross yesterday announced a campaign to raise $19 million to provide food, other supplies and health care to people in Iraq.

The Iraqi Red Crescent will distribute the assistance to the 900,000 most needy in the country over the next year, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said.

The federation noted U.N. estimates that up to 6 million Iraqis need help, but said it would concentrate on the most vulnerable: families with small incomes, single-parent families and widows.

ISRAEL

Apartments planned on disputed land

JERUSALEM — Israel plans to build 1,100 apartments for Israelis in East Jerusalem, a Cabinet minister said yesterday, angering Palestinians who want the area as the capital of their future state and further troubling peace talks.

Housing Minister Zeev Boim told Israel Radio that plans were under way to build 370 apartments in Har Homa and 750 in Pisgat Zeev, two Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War, annexed it, and built neighborhoods there that are now home to 180,000 Israelis. It does not consider construction there to be settlement activity, as do the Palestinians and international community.

GAZA STRIP

Israeli raids target Hamas

GAZA CITY — Nine Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were wounded in Israeli raids on the Gaza Strip yesterday as calls grew for a broad military offensive on the Hamas-ruled territory.

Leaders of the Islamist movement — regarded as a terrorist organization by Israel and the West — are taking precautions for their safety in the light of Israeli threats, a spokesman said.

Seven Palestinians were hit during a pre-dawn firefight in Gaza City with an infantry unit accompanied by about 20 armored vehicles and with helicopter gunship support, Palestinian witnesses said.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ruled out a widespread ground offensive but warned that no one from Hamas was immune to Israeli strikes.

BAHRAIN

Asian workers demand pay raise

MANAMA — Bahrain has formed a commission to settle an “illegal” strike by 13,000 Asian laborers demanding higher wages, Labor Minister Majid al-Alawi said on Monday.

The team led by a senior official of his ministry has been tasked with “resolving the problems of the foreign labor force” and “putting an end to the strike,” he said, quoted by the state news agency BNA.

The BNA said about 1,300 migrant workers helping to build a luxury coastal development in Bahrain have been on strike since Saturday to demand higher wages.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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