World

Doubts about the latest tapes supplied to broadcasters by Al Qaeda were raised by the CIA and a leading French terrorism expert. The tapes, aired Wednesday by the Al-Jazeera Arabic TV channel and others, called for supporters to "bury" US forces "in the Iraqi graveyard." CIA analysts expressed "high confidence" that the voice of Al Qaeda's No. 2 leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is on the audio tape but said they can't be certain that Osama bin Laden's is as well. Meanwhile, Roland Jacquard of the International Observatory on Terrorism in Paris said the video shouldn't be taken at face value because it shows only old, edited footage and previously aired voice tracks.

Over US objections, the expulsion of Yasser Arafat was being discussed in an emergency meeting of Israel's cabinet. Such a move would be among other measures in what aides to Prime Minister Sharon described as "swift and harsh" retaliation for the latest round of Palestinian terrorist attacks. Israel has long held Arafat responsible for terrorism, although he denies the allegation. A senior Palestinian said the threat alone to expel Arafat would harm peace prospects.

Another high-profile inquiry into whether the British government "sexed up" intelligence on Iraq's military capabilities found only limited grounds for criticism. Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee cleared Prime Minister Blair's administration of manipulating raw information but said the claim that Iraq could launch a chemical or biological attack on 45 minutes' notice lacked "context." The issue came to a head because of a BBC report that the government knew the claim was probably wrong. Blair's government also was absolved in a parliamentary inquiry in July. A judicial inquiry still is under way.

Flags flew at half-mast across Sweden, and a manhunt was on for the assailant who stabbed Foreign Minister Anna Lindh to death in a Stockholm store. Lindh was widely viewed as a future prime minister. Police said they didn't think the attack was politically motivated, although it came three days before a scheduled referendum on whether to adopt the euro and scrap the kroner. Lindh vigorously advocated a "yes" vote, although opinion polls show a majority of Swedes oppose the move.

A deal that will allow cash-strapped Argentina to refinance billions of dollars in foreign debt was reached with the International Monetary Fund a day after the former defaulted on the largest repayment in IMF history. The two agreed on a plan to roll over $21 billion due between now and 2006 - more than half of it owed to the IMF. Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna said the $3 billion that was due Wednesday will be transferred to the IMF in time for its board meeting next week.

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