Andrew Hammond

Afghan civilian toll up 31%, says UN report

Civilian casualties have risen by 31% in the first half of 2010, the United Nations mission in Afghanistan said on Tuesday.

Bin Laden warns US on Israel ties

Osama bin Laden warned the American people over their government's close ties with Israel in an audio tape posted on an Islamist website on Monday.

Saudi Arabia holds 200 militants over foiled attacks

Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday it had arrested 208 people for involvement in several cells that planned an ''imminent attack'' on an oil installation, and attacks on clerics and security forces. State television said one of the cells was planning to smuggle in missiles.

Somali leaders want Arab, African peacekeepers

Somali leaders meeting in Saudi Arabia said they wanted to replace foreign forces backing the interim government against rebels with Arab and African troops under the aegis of the United Nations. The pact came days after a rival meeting in Eritrea by an opposition alliance that included leaders of the Islamic courts movement.

Arab leaders urge Israel, world to take peace offer

Arab leaders on Thursday endorsed a peace plan to end a decades-old conflict with Israel and the Palestinian president warned of more violence if the ''hand of peace'' was rejected. Speaking at the end of an Arab summit in Riyadh, Mahmoud Abbas urged Israel not to waste the chance for peace, and called for a committee led by Saudi Arabia to pursue it.

Saudi sympathy for al-Qaeda still runs strong

Two jailbreaks and a series of arrests in recent months suggest that sympathy for al-Qaeda militants in Saudi Arabia still runs strong despite a government crackdown, analysts said this week. The authorities in the world's biggest oil exporter say they have seized nearly 80 al-Qaeda members or sympathisers from around the country over the last three months.

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