Israeli police accused of desecrating Qur’an

Updated 09 March 2013
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Israeli police accused of desecrating Qur’an

JERUSALEM: Palestinians enraged by reports that an Israeli policeman mishandled a Qur’an copy battled riot officers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound with stones and petrol bombs yesterday, police and witnesses said.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that about 100 protesters, many of them masked, confronted police who fired stun grenades in response.
“Petrol bombs were thrown at police,” he told AFP. “Several police officers were injured by stones that were thrown and were evacuated to hospital.”
An AFP journalist at the scene said the clash was triggered by Palestinian media allegations that a policeman at the compound, one of Islam’s holiest sites, on Sunday kicked a holy book and trampled on it.
“That’s completely incorrect,” Rosenfeld said, adding that the Qur’an in question was being held by one of a group of women seeking to block a visit to the compound by Israelis when the book fell by accident. “They blocked them with a bench and one of the women who was sitting on the bench was reading a Qur’an,” he said. “When the bench was removed from the area the Qur’an fell on the floor. The Qur’an was picked up and returned to the lady and there was no misconduct by any of the police.”
In the West Bank village of Abud, northwest of Ramallah, about 1,000 mourners attended the funeral of a local man who died Thursday of head injuries after being shot by Israeli troops with a rubber bullet two weeks ago during a protest.


Iraqi PM Abadi says election fraud allegations to be investigated

Updated 47 min 5 sec ago
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Iraqi PM Abadi says election fraud allegations to be investigated

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said on Thursday that allegations of fraud in national elections held last week will be investigated, according to a statement from his office.
The electoral list of Moqtada Al-Sadr, a populist Shiite cleric, unexpectedly won the biggest number of seats in the May 12 ballot.
The fraud claims have centered on the city of Kirkuk — although there have been reports of irregularities in multiple provinces — and focused on the tabulation system in electronic voting machines that were used for the first time during the election.
A special committee appointed by the cabinet will investigate the allegations, Abadi’s office said.
Some candidates have also expressed concerns about voter intimidation and reports of chaotic distribution of ID cards, which they claim disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of people.
Following several days of complaints — including a call for an investigation by the UN’s senior envoy to Iraq, Jan Kubis — the country’s electoral commission said on Monday it had invalidated ballots from 103 polling stations in five provinces.
The investigatory committee, which will include advisers from the security and intelligence sectors, will have access to all documents pertaining to the electoral process, including from the electoral commission.
The commission could not immediately be reached for comment.