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Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Big news day

Headlines from DEBKA:
Last Updated on November 12, 2003, 5:01 PM (GMT+02:00)
Italian defense minister Antonio Martini blamed remnants of Saddam loyalists with Arab extremists for big blast that Wednesday killed 14 Italian military personnel and 8 Iraqis at Italian military police headquarters in southern Iraqi town of Nassirya. Some 80 wounded are in hospital. Witnesses described truck as crashing through entrance to unit, closely followed by car that detonated tearing off front of three-floor building

First terrorist strike in Nassirya coincided with US administrator Bremer’s emergency conference with President Bush in Washington on ways of shortening Iraq’s transition to local rule

Bomb blast kills US soldier on road north of Baghdad, second American soldiers dies of wounds from bombing in Baghdad Tuesday

In videotape released Wednesday by Colombian rebel ELN, seven kidnapped tourists, including four Israelis, appear in good health

New Palestinian prime minister is Ahmed Qureia, Abu Ala, confirmed by legislative council in Ramallah by 46 votes against 13 and 5 abstentions. Interior minister in charge of security is Hakam Balawi, Arafat’s loyalist. He vetoed Gen. Nasser Yousef for post.

Qureia declared his government opts for peace as strategic choice, promised elections next June. Many Palestinian lawmakers criticize lineup as leaving Arafat in control of security forces but expect its confirmation. Neither Arafat nor Qureia mentioned fighting or disarming terrorists in their speeches. Read DEBKAfile-DEBKA-Net-Weekly Special Report: Qureia Lineup Reflects Disintegrating Palestinian Leadership.

In southern Gaza Strip, Palestinians shot and injured member of crew working on Morag security fence. He was evacuated to hospital under fire. IDF patrol opened fire on grouped of armed Palestinians stealing into Israeli Nahal Besor village cluster opposite Gaza Strip. Two intruders hit.