Israeli forces take over town
Israeli troops seized a northern Gaza town Wednesday in one of the largest strikes against Palestinian rocket squads in months, imposing a curfew, deploying snipers on rooftops and patrolling streets in tanks. Eight Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were killed.
Cabinet ministers scrapped a plan to widen the conflict, however, a move that coincided with U.S. and Egyptian efforts to stanch the flow of weapons to Palestinian extremists across the Gaza-Egypt border.
The takeover of Beit Hanoun was expected to last only a few days, according to Israeli officials, who emphasized the operation was not the start of a broader military offensive.
Military leader warns of bloodshed
Fiji’s military commander heightened a political crisis today by warning that the prime minister’s refusal to resign could plunge this coup-prone South Pacific nation into bloodshed.
Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase’s government has sought the ouster of military commander Frank Bainimarama, but he has refused to quit his post.
Bainimarama threatened last month to force Qarase to resign unless he dropped two contentious bills, one which would offer amnesty to some of those involved in a 2000 coup. Fiji has seen three coups in the last 19 years.
Dates set for controversial opera
The Mozart opera production canceled over security concerns because of a scene depicting the severed head of the Prophet Muhammad will be staged on Dec. 18 and Dec. 29, the Deutsche Oper said Wednesday.
The opera company said last week it would return Hans Neuenfels’ interpretation of “Idomeneo” to its winter lineup, after a new police security assessment determined no “concrete danger” existed, but it had not announced the dates.
Opera head Kirsten Harms canceled four November performances following a vague security warning from police linked to a scene where the severed heads of Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha and Neptune are presented.