The Insider: Daily Terrorism Report

— Today, new information on slain Afghani leader Ahmed Shah Massoud — a new theory about why he may have been killed two days prior to Sept. 11 attacks. Also, an article about how the Pentagon is now hunting Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. And what was an al Qaeda terrorist manual doing in a house in Northern Ireland?

THE WAR IN IRAQ

Pentagon Says a Covert Force Hunts Hussein and Bin Laden The top American military commander for the Middle East has created a covert commando force to hunt Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and key terrorists throughout the region, according to Pentagon and military officials. (NY Times)

Six Killed in Helicopter Crash in Iraq Six die in helicopter crash near Tikrit; troops ambushed in Mosul as insurgency spreads northward. (AP)

Turkey Won't Send Troops to Iraq Turkey will not send troops to Iraq to relieve U.S. forces there, a government official said Friday, after local Iraqi officials made clear they didn't want Turkish soldiers to join the coalition. (AP)

Bush Aides Play Down Effort to Avert War at Last Minute Bush administration officials on Thursday played down the significance of an Iraqi effort to avert war by holding last-ditch negotiations with Washington through a back channel in the weeks before the war began in March. (NY Times)

Pentagon to Shrink Iraq Force The Pentagon announced plans to reduce U.S. forces in Iraq from 132,000 to 105,000 by next May. (The Washington Post)

U.N. Staff in Baghdad Relocated in Cyprus All 22 members of the United Nations international staff in Baghdad have now been temporarily relocated in Cyprus, the United Nations has announced. (Times of India)

Pakistani Baghdad Mission Staff Cut Pakistan has decided to reduce the staff strength of its embassy in Baghdad to a bare minimum, bringing it down to only five, officials sources told Dawn on Thursday. (Dawn)

Al Sadr Is in Iraq, says Aide An aide of the young Shiite leader Muqtada al Sadr denied speculations that he fled the country or traveled to Iran. His aide told Elaph over the phone that Al Sadr was in al Kofa and lexplained the reason for his recent silence by saying that his statement had been misused. (Elaph)

U.S. Accepts Egypt's Offer to Train Iraqi Security Asharq Al Awsat reports today that the U.S. has accepted Egypt's offer to train the Iraqi security forces. The issue will be discussed during the visit of U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to Egypt next Sunday. Sources said the suggestion came after communications between the C.I.A and Egyptian security agencies. (Asharq Al Awsat)

£100m in Aid Funds Diverted to Iraq More than 20 countries lose out to pay for post-war rebuilding. (The Guardian)

Analysis & Opinion

Rush to War, Revisited An article about an 11th-hour Iraqi peace offer last March suggests that the Bush administration was not serious about the idea of a coerced but peaceful solution to disarming Baghdad. (NY Times)

Iraq Is Not America's to Sell International law is unequivocal - Paul Bremer's economic reforms are illegal. (The Guardian)

Reconstructing Iraq I was pleased to see Egypt and some other countries taking the initiative to contribute to the reconstruction of Iraq following the destruction to which this valuable part of the Arab world was subject. (Al Ahram Weekly)

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