Arafat’s widow stripped of citizenship
TUNIS — Tunisia has stripped the widow of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat of Tunisian citizenship, officials said yesterday.
A formal decree published Aug. 2 in Tunisia’s official register indicated that 44-year-old Suha Arafat, who was born in Jerusalem and became a naturalized Tunisian last year, had lost her citizenship.
No explanation was provided. The decree made no reference to the Arafats’ 12-year-old daughter Zahwa, who became a Tunisian citizen on the same day as her mother.
Suicide attacker targets tourists
RABAT — A Moroccan tax officer tried to blow up a coach load of foreign tourists in a suicide attack on his 30th birthday, police said yesterday.
The tourists from the United States, France and Italy continued their tour after Hicham Dokkali tried but failed to get onto the bus carrying a butane gas bottle in the historic city of Meknes on Monday, a Moroccan security official said.
Dokkali had an arm blown off and suffered liver injuries in the explosion.
Six Palestinians killed in incursion
GAZA — Israeli forces killed six Palestinians yesterday when they clashed with militants during a raid on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, Palestinian militant and hospital sources said.
Two Hamas militants and a 40-year-old bystander were killed during the raid on the southern villages of Qarara and Abassan, hospital officials said.
Hamas said another of its gunmen and his mother were fatally shot as they emerged from their home in the area. At least 16 Palestinians were wounded in the fighting in which the Israeli troops were backed by military aircraft.
An Israeli army spokesman said the operation was aimed at finding a suspected militant tunnel network at the Gazan border and to prevent cross-border rocket fire.
President supports defeat of Taliban
KABUL — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flew out of Kabul yesterday after a one-day visit in which he emphasized his support for Afghanistan’s attempts to defeat a Taliban insurgency.
Mr. Ahmadinejad also used the visit to reject U.S. and British accusations that Iranian weapons are being supplied to Taliban insurgents fighting the Afghan government.
After talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the presidential palace, the Iranian delegation signed several agreements pledging to help Afghanistan, including in the fields of capacity building, agriculture, road construction, and fighting terrorism, drugs and crime.
Aso urges freedom of movement
JERUSALEM — Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso urged Israel yesterday to ease the severe restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement in the occupied West Bank in order to promote regional peace efforts.
“I asked my colleague to continue peace efforts, especially in reducing the roadblocks in the West Bank and dismantling illegal [settlement] outposts,” Mr. Aso said, speaking through an interpreter, at a press conference with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in Jerusalem.
Today he is expected to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank. He also is expected to announce that Tokyo would resume direct financial aid to the Palestinians that it suspended in 2006 after Hamas, considered a terror group by the West, formed a government.
Holocaust survivor gets college refund
JERUSALEM — An Israeli university gave an 85-year-old survivor of the Nazi Holocaust a refund yesterday for tuition fees his father paid on his behalf just before the start of World War II.
Barukh Kaplan, a native of Poland, registered to study chemistry at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University in June 1939. But before he could leave for British-ruled Palestine, the Nazis invaded Poland and he fled to the Soviet Union.
Hebrew University gave Mr. Kaplan a full refund, as a goodwill gesture, of $3,993.
Mr. Kaplan fought in the Red Army against the Nazis for more than three years until he was wounded in 1945 and had a leg amputated. He studied chemistry at the University of Moscow and became a prominent scientist in the former Soviet Union.
From wire dispatches and staff reports
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