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Authorities across the Islamic world had their hands full over the weekend dealing with terrorism or or other forms of militancy:

• An emergency meeting of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Cabinet Sunday night was expected to take up the question of deporting Yasser Arafat after two more Palestinian terrorist bombings killed nine people and wounded 20 others. Sharon, who'd held his first meeting with new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas a few hours earlier, canceled his scheduled departure for the US "because he felt it necessary to be home," a spokesman said. He and Abbas reportedly failed to narrow any Israeli-Palestinian differences.

• An Islamic organization known to be sympathetic to Al Qaeda was identified as a suspect in Friday night's bombings in Casablanca, Morocco, which killed at least 41 people and hurt about 100 others, many of them critically. Police were raiding Muslim fundamentalist areas across the nation and said "several dozen" militants were in custody, among them one of the attackers who survived the bombings but is too seriously injured to answer questions.

• Police in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, arrested four suspects in last week's bombings and said all of them are linked to Al Qaeda. They also said they identified the remains of five of the attackers. In another development, security was tightened in the port of Jiddah, especially around the US Consulate, after warnings that the city was a likely target for new attacks.

• Last-ditch negotiations to salvage a cease-fire between the Indonesian government and Muslim separatist rebels collapsed, and the volatile province of Aceh appeared near war. The talks were held on neutral ground in Tokyo, and the government warned that it likely would order a military offensive if they ended in failure.

• Air Force planes were bombing and rocketing Moro Islamic Liberation Front strongholds in the southern Philippines in a new crackdown on what President Gloria Arroyo called "embedded terrorist cells" blamed for bombings that have killed more than 200 people this year.

The new senior US administrator in Iraq disputed published reports that the planned transition to an interim authority there would be suspended. Paul Bremer said "We haven't discussed" such a move, and he predicted progress "rather quickly in this transitional phase." The New York Times and Washington Post reported that Iraqi political leaders had been told the plans for a national assembly and interim government by the end of the month were being delayed indefinitely. Bremer did say, however, that tens of thousands of Baath Party members would be barred from any future Iraqi government.


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