Israeli Missile Mistakenly Kills

Three Egyptian Policemen

JERUSALEM -- An Israeli tank fired a missile across the border with Egypt early Thursday and killed three Egyptian policemen, apparently mistaking them for a group of Palestinian militants who were burying a bomb about 200 yards away, according to a statement by the Israeli military.

The incident prompted a quick apology by Israel and a denunciation by Egypt. The two neighbors signed a peace agreement in 1979, but they have had strained relations since the outbreak of the current Palestinian uprising in September 2000.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon telephoned Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, "and expressed his deep sorrow over the regrettable incident," promising that Israel would investigate the "mishap" and share its findings with Egypt, Sharon's office reported.

Later, Egypt's foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said in a statement that "Egypt condemns and strongly protests . . . this irresponsible behavior" and demanded a "comprehensive investigation" and explanation.

Israel and the Palestinians are both seeking Egypt's help in reforming and training Palestinian security forces in the Gaza Strip. Egyptian mediators also have played a key role in trying to resolve differences between the Palestinian government and armed Palestinian groups.

-- John Ward Anderson


* BRUSSELS -- An Orthodox Jew died after being shot in the head outside his home in Antwerp, one of Western Europe's most visible Jewish communities. Investigators said it was too early to tell whether the killing was the first deadly strike in an upsurge of anti-Semitic violence in Antwerp, Belgium's second city.

Police shifted their patrols to pass more often through the area. There had already been increased security since June, when a Jewish student was stabbed. Days later, a Jewish man was beaten unconscious.

* PARIS -- Creating a solution to a sticky diplomatic problem, French authorities said they would release Yasser Arafat's medical records to his nephew, Nasser Kidwa, a Palestinian Authority figure who then could resolve lingering questions about the cause of the leader's Nov. 11 death in a Paris-area hospital. French officials say they are prevented by law from making the records public.

* BRUSSELS -- The European Parliament approved the reshuffled 24-member European Union executive team, ending a showdown with the incoming E.U. chief, Jose Manuel Barroso, over objections to the group. In Strasbourg, France, legislators gave Barroso a simple majority to take control at the E.U. head office in Brussels as of Monday.


* SRINAGAR, India -- The main separatist alliance in Indian Kashmir insisted on holding talks with Pakistan before reviving a dialogue with New Delhi, a demand Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said was not acceptable. The differences came as Singh wound up his first trip to the region since taking office in May.

-- From News Services