The Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad have called off what was left of the ceasefire with Israel.
The announcement came after Israel assassinated a top Hamas leader and two others in Gaza City yesterday.
The Los Angeles Times described the assassinated leader, Abu Shanab, as the chief political strategist of Hamas. He had been acting as the liaison between Hamas and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas on peace negotiations.
Abbas called the airstrike a “ugly crime.” U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned the airstrike as an extrajudicial killing and urged the Israeli government to show restraint.
The assassination came two days after a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 20 aboard a Jerusalem. Among the dead were five children. An additional 100 were injured in the deadliest Palestinian bombing in over three years.
In Gaza thousands of Palestinians took to the streets to mourn the death of Shanab. Many called for Abbas to step down.
A statement from Hamas urged “all our cells of fighters in Palestine to strike in every corner of the Jewish state.”
Secretary of State Colin Powell warned Israel and the Palestinian leadership to preserve the road map to peace.
Powell said, “The end of the road map is a cliff that both sides will fall off of. I believe both parties understand that a way has to be found to go forward. The alternative is what? Just more death and destruction?”
Israeli incursions into the West Bank and Gaza are continuing. Israeli tanks are reported to be in Jenin and Nablus. At least a dozen Palestinians have been detained. The main highways in Gaza have been closed splitting the area in three.
In France, it now believed that over 10,000 people have died as a result of the recent heat wave. The Independent of London describe what has happened as a “Holocaust of the elderly.” Most of the dead are believed to be over 75 years old.
The Washington Post reports that Tuesday’s bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad has forced many humanitarian aid workers to leave Iraq.
About a third of the United Nations staff in Baghdad has left. The Red Cross has begun withdrawing workers.
In other Iraq news, Saddam Hussein’s close confidant Ali Hassan Majeed has been taken into custody. In the late 1980s he oversaw the chemical weapons attacks that killed thousands of Kurds. He is often referred to as Chemical Ali by Central Command and in the media.
This news from Washington DC: The Washington Post reports two members of the city’s transgender community have been shot dead over the past week. Since last summer there have been five killings of men who live as women in the capital area.
On Saturday a well known drag performer named Elvys Augusto Perez, was shot and killed and yesterday 25-year-old Aaryn Marshall was shot dead.
The Washington Post reports President Bush will today appoint Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes to the board of directors of the U.S. Institute of Peace.
Bush is sidestepping congressional opposition by giving Pipes a recess appointment.
Muslim groups have strongly protested the appointment of Pipes who has been described as the leading Islamaphobe in the country.
The Justice Department is launching a campaign to unofficially lobby Congressmen to back the USA Patriot Act. Federal U.S. attorneys have been given a list that marks which members of Congress have voted to turn back portions of the act. The Justice Department is urging the US Attorneys to personally contact the members of Congress and talk about the importance of the Patriot Act.
The Justice Department denies that the effort violates the Anti-Lobbying Act which bars government employees from lobbying. But Michigan Congressman John Conyers has questioned whether the plan, as well as Attorney General John Ashcroft’s current 18-city Victory Tour promoting the Patriot Act, violates the law.
This news from London: It has been revealed that dead British weapons expert David Kelly had predicted his own death months before he has found dead in the woods. Police said he committed suicide in July shortly after it became known that he was the possible source of a BBC report that Tony Blair had sexed up the intelligence on Iraq.
Diplomat David Broucher told investigators that Kelly had predicted that he once said if Iraq were attack “I will be found dead in the woods.”
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