Last notes before heading out to Seattle. Headlines for today given here, behind a cut tag – these are from Debka, but they’re over quite a few other sources as well. Casualties from the strike in Iraq are currently listed as 95 dead, 140 wounded. (that number from the NY Times)
Get ready, here comes more fun.
Shalom Har-Melekh, 25, from Homesh was shot dead, his pregnant wife Limor badly hurt, when their car came under Palestinian attack Friday on Alon Highway east of Ramallah. Fatah’s al Aqsa Brigades claimed responsibility. Limor was later delivered of premature baby. In Gaza Strip, three mortar shells aimed at Kfar Darom. No casualties.
First Report: In yet another terror attack in Iraq, explosion near British forces HQ in southern city of Basra wrecks two cars. No immediate reports of casualties.
Death toll rises to 80 of car bombing at Najef mosque which killed important Iraqi Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mohammed Baqer Al-Hakim during Friday prayers and injured scores
Dead cleric headed biggest Iraqi Shiite party SAIRI – Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution. Last week, his uncle, Ayatollah Seyed al Hakim, survived an assassination attempt. His three bodyguards were killed. DEBKAfile: Murdered man was key to post-war calm in majority Shiite community of Iraq since he returned from Iran exile. His brother, Abd al Aziz al-Hakim, is member of US-appointed governing council. Al Qaeda believed behind attacks on Shiite leaders to stir up Shiite-Sunni strife in Iraq.
In northern Iraqi town of Suleimaniyeh, Hama Hussein, deputy chief of Talabani’s Kurdish Security forces was shot dead Wednesday in three-hour battle with al Qaeda-linked Ansar al Islam terrorists who seized house in town. Clash ended with capture of terrorists with help of US troops
Also in Iraq, a US soldier was killed, four injured, when convoy attacked by guerrillas near Baquba
Hamas senior operative Hamdi Kadah killed Thursday night in targeted attack by Israeli helicopters in southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younes. Three others wounded. Kadah was responsible for daily mortar attacks on Gush Katif in Strip.
Beijing talks end Friday with decision to reconvene after North Korea announced it has nuclear weapons, the means to deliver them and plans to conduct a test. The announcement by Deputy FM Kim Yong Il at six-power conference called to end North Korea’s nuclear crisis.
Alastair Campbell resigns as British government communication chief amid Hutton inquiry into death of British weapons expert David Kelly. Campbell has been questioned about his role in “sexing up” dossier making case for Iraq war and exposing Kelly to media
DEBKAfile reports: Washington puts Arafat on notice: Don’t topple PM Abbas at Monday’s Palestinian legislature session where Arafat has gathered majority.
DEBKAfile and DEBKA-Net-Weekly reveal: Secret Russian sale to Iran of advanced AVRIL uranium enrichment processor. System installed at Natanz and super-secret Moallen Kalayeh site, now working at top speed.
No analysis here – these are just quick updates on several rapidly evolving situations. Keep a close eye out on Iran for possible announcements and/or moves if/when NK decides to test or otherwise do something major; keep an eye out on Iraq for, well, the obvious.