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World in brief: Head of U.S.-allied Sunni group killed

Mon., July 7, 2008

Iraqi police and medical officials said a bomb has killed the head of a U.S.-allied Sunni group south of Baghdad.

The police officer said Ali Abdul Ridha al-Badri was the head of an awakening council in Iskandariyah, 30 miles south of Baghdad, and was killed Sunday after meeting with U.S. forces.

The officer said the bomb was attached to al-Badri’s car.

The police and medical officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.


Standoff worsens sewage crisis

A yearlong standoff between Israel and Hamas has left the territory’s sewage system in a state of collapse, flooding its coastal waters with human waste, and the consequences can be deadly. Last year, five people were killed when a small waste reservoir collapsed.

“If the amount of sewage dumped into the sea remains at this rate, we’ll be facing a dark future for sea water in Gaza,” said WHO official Mahmoud Daher.

An Israeli blockade imposed after Hamas violently wrested control of Gaza last year has left the territory without enough fuel to operate its already overburdened treatment plants. Palestinian militant attacks from Gaza into Israel have deterred Western donors from building new facilities.

Now there’s a glimmer of hope. A cease-fire that went into effect June 19 could lead to a resumption of normal fuel supplies.

Little has changed on the ground so far, in part because Israel has repeatedly reclosed the border crossings in response to continued rocket fire. But Palestinians think critical projects can be quickly finished if the truce takes root.

For decades the Gaza Strip has been piping sewage into its 25 miles of Mediterranean waters. Since January, an additional 10 million gallons a day of sewage have been fouling the sea.

Munzir Shiblak, of Gaza’s sewage utility, said he needs 40,000 gallons of fuel a month to treat the extra waste. From January to April, he said, the plants received less than half that.


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