Digest

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pakistan

Drone strike kills 18 alleged militants

Suspected U.S. missiles struck two vehicles in a Taliban stronghold in Pakistan along the Afghan border Monday, killing 18 alleged militants, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

The attack in the North Waziristan tribal region occurred in the final days of a year in which there have been an unprecedented number of such strikes from unmanned aircraft flying over Pakistani soil, part of a ramped-up U.S. campaign to take out al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters seeking sanctuary outside Afghanistan.

At least 110 such drone strikes have been launched this year, more than double last year's total. Nearly all have targeted North Waziristan, a region that hosts several militant groups battling coalition troops in Afghanistan.

The six missiles fired Monday struck in the Shera Tala village. Shera Tala lies in Mir Ali district, where militants are heavily concentrated. The identities of the 18 dead were not known.

The vehicles were apparently leaving a compound, and one was carrying a large load of ammunition, magnifying the blasts from the strikes, the officials said.

- Associated Press

Middle East

Netanyahu proposes interim peace deal

Israel's prime minister said Monday that if negotiations do not resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he could seek an interim accord instead of the comprehensive deal the United States wants. Palestinians reject that idea.

In an interview with Israeli Channel 10 TV, Binyamin Netanyahu said that if negotiations bog down on long-standing issues, he could seek a short-term deal.

"It could be we hit a wall - a wall on the topic of Jerusalem, maybe a wall on the subject of [Palestinian] refugees - it could be that then the result will be an interim agreement," he said.

On Sunday, hard-line Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman floated the same proposal but with a different emphasis. He said that the peace talks cannot succeed and that Israel should not negotiate a peace treaty with the regime of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the idea of an interim agreement is "a nonstarter and will not fly."

"This is not the time for interim solutions," he said. "The time is for the decisions on the permanent-status issues."


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