World

"A massive operation" against the radical Hamas movement will be forthcoming, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said, indicating that the deaths of a senior activist and three other members in a rocket attack in the Gaza Strip early Monday was only "a taste." Independent of Israeli actions, Palestinian police put Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin under house arrest (although his own guards, above, were posted directly outside). Hamas has claimed responsibility for many human bombing attacks against Israelis, and it vowed to continue suicide operations "for these crimes against our people."

In his West Bank compound, Yasser Arafat also was surrounded again by Israeli troops, with even Palestinian analysts saying his new crackdown against terrorists was "too late." With both sides awaiting President Bush's speech in the US on a possible provisional Palestinian state, Arafat's immediate fate was unclear. In all, 600,000 people in the West Bank were confined to their homes by Israeli curfews. (Story, page 1.) Senior Palestinians, who enjoyed a public relations boost as a result of Israel's April offensive, complained of "the silence of the international community."

President Hamid Karzai swore in the members of his new cabinet in Afghanistan, opening efforts to provide the war-torn country with a stable central government. Among them was ex-Interior Minister Yunis Qanuni, who – in an about-face – agreed to head the education ministry. Qanuni angrily rejected the post last week, apparently viewing it as a demotion. He also is to serve as a presidential adviser on security.

Almost 3,000 white farmers in Zimbabwe had until midnight Monday to cease operations and forfeit their properties under President Robert Mugabe's "fast track" land seizure program. Refusal to comply carries a fine and/or imprisonment for up to two years, even though some farms still have crops in their fields. Radio broadcasts warned of security measures to prevent farmers from trying to take their equipment with them.

The longest-serving leader of an Asian government, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Muhamad, triggered an emergency meeting of his National Front coalition after announcing his resignation, then withdrawing it and abruptly leaving for a Mediterranean vacation. He was expected to remain in office, but only until an unspecified date next year. Mahathir, who has been in power for 21 years and has two left in his current term, would then turn his duties over to Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, aides said.

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