World

Terrorists in Iraq appeared to be shifting the focus of their attacks to diplomats from other Islamic nations. After armed men kidnapped Egypt's senior envoy in Baghdad Saturday night, someone wounded Bahrain's top diplomat in another kidnap attempt Tuesday. There was no further word on the fate of the Egyptian, the first ambassador posted to Iraq by an Arab government. Bahrain's diplomat was treated for a shoulder wound. Meanwhile, Pakistan said it was withdrawing Ambassador Younis Khan after a drive-by shooting that targeted his convoy Tuesday.

In other developments in Iraq:

• A leading voice for Sunni Arabs said senior clerics would soon issue a religious decree calling on their followers to register and "take part in the coming elections." Sunnis largely boycotted the Jan. 30 vote for a new parliament.

• The 15 Sunnis who were approved to serve on the commitee that is drafting Iraq's new Constitution will begin work Wednesday, their spokesman said.

At least six unidentified militants died as security forces responded to an attack on the Hindu shrine at the heart of a bitter sectarian feud in northern India. But officials expressed alarm that the militants had penetrated the site in Ayodhya, which has been guarded heavily since Hindu nationalists demolished a Muslim mosque there in 1992. That incident has led to repeated sectarian violence and thousands of deaths.

Israel will deploy more than 40,000 troops and 4,000 police to guard next month's evacuation of the Gaza Strip, the defense ministry announced. The numbers represent a sizable increase over the original plan, which called for 30,000 soldiers. Officials said that was due to the shortening of the withdrawal period from three months to one. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon also served notice that violent protests against the evacuation would not be tolerated "in any way."

The possibility that popular President Alvaro Uribe may not seek reelection in Colombia next year was growing after the nation's inspector general recommended overturning a new constitutional amendment on the matter. Opinion polls show Uribe would win if he runs for a second four-year term. But support also was building for the inspector general's view that there were "irregularities" in the passage of the amendment by Congress. The Supreme Court is to rule on the issue this fall.

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