1. PALESTINIAN PRISONERS DEMAND VOTE…With fewer than two weeks remaining before the Palestinian leadership election, a group of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails is calling for the right to vote. A group of inmates at the Shiqma jail has written letters to Israel’s President Moshe Katsav and Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra asking to be granted the right to cast their ballots. The letters reportedly include mention of the prisoners’ preferred candidate Mahmoud ‘Abbas, the current head of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the leader in the opinion polls.
2. ISRAEL KILLS PALESTINIANS ‘PLANTING BOMB’…Israel says it killed three Palestinian terrorists as they attempted to plant a bomb in the Gaza Strip early on Friday. It is the third time in a week that Israel says it has managed to target and eradicate a terror cell operating in Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces says it has carried out the operations in response to the increased number of mortar and Qassam-rocket attacks on Israeli targets in Gaza. Hamas has been particularly active in the run up to the Palestinian election.
3. IRAN CALLS FOR REBUILDING OF QUAKE CITY…As the world focuses on the humanitarian disaster in southern Asia, Iranian leaders are calling for the reconstruction of the historic city Bam that was rocked by a massive earthquake this time last year. Tens of thousands of people were killed in the disaster, but now the country’s top officials are calling for the rebuilding work to focus not just on the survivors, but also on attempting to reconstruct the ancient temples and artifacts in the region.