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Briefs (left)

Thousands of Settlers Protest Planned Withdrawal From Gaza

By Greg Myre


With a huge police contingent keeping close watch, thousands of right-wing Israelis protested Tuesday night against the planned withdrawal of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip.

In perhaps the last major rally before the evacuation, which is to begin in two weeks, the orange-clad protesters gathered here in Sederot, a town just a couple of miles beyond Gaza’s perimeter fence and the most frequent target of Palestinian rocket fire in recent years.

Palestinians fired rockets aimed toward Sederot while the rally was under way, but two fell in Palestinian areas in northern Gaza, killing a three-year-old Palestinian boy and wounding nine Palestinians, the Associated Press reported. A third rocket landed in a field near Sederot. The Israeli military said it was checking the reports but had no immediate comment.

Two Aides to Rove Testify
In CIA Leak Inquiry

By David Johnston


Two aides to Karl Rove, the senior White House adviser, testified last Friday before a federal grand jury investigating whether government officials illegally disclosed the identity an undercover CIA operative, according to a person who has been officially briefed on the case.

The aides, Susan B. Ralston and Israel Hernandez, were asked about grand jury testimony given on July 13 by Matthew Cooper, a reporter for Time magazine, the person who was briefed said. Cooper has said that he testified about a July 11, 2003, conversation with Rove in which the CIA officer was discussed.

The aides’ grand jury appearances were first reported by ABC News and provided the first sign that the prosecutor in the case is interested in following up on Cooper’s testimony with more questions for the White House about Rove. A person sympathetic to Rove said that the questions seemed typical of those posed by a prosecutor wrapping up the loose ends of an inquiry. That person and the one who has been briefed spoke only on the condition of anonymity because the prosecutor has warned people not to discuss the case.

Judge in Iran Who Sentenced Journalist Is Slain

By Nazila Fathi


An Iranian judge who presided over the high-profile trial and conviction of an Iranian journalist five years ago was assassinated by a gunman on a motorcycle in central Tehran on Tuesday.

Assassination attempts are rare in Iran. This is the first such attack since 1999, when a general, Ali Sayyad Shirazi, was gunned down. An Iranian opposition group in exile, the People’s Mujahedeen, took responsibility for that killing.

Witnesses to the killing on Tuesday told the police that about 4 p.m. a gunman sped toward the judge, Massoud Moqadasi, who was also a deputy prosecutor, and shot him twice in the head in his car before fleeing. The killing took place near Argentine Square in central Tehran.

Why Moqadasi, who primarily handled cases of social vice, became a target was not immediately clear. The Tehran police chief, Morteza Talai, told the news agency ISNA that the police were checking the judge’s recent cases in search of a motive.