Morning Report: April 24, 2006

Ahmadinejad says no to US talks. Iran Focus: 'Hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ruled out on Monday direct talks between the Islamic Republic and the United States over Iraq. “Right now, we think that with the presence of a permanent government in Iraq there is no longer any need”, Ahmadinejad said in reply to a question on whether Tehran would seek to hold talks with U.S. officials in Iraq. Ahmadinejad added that Iran had no trust in the United States government. U.S. President George W. Bush had previously authorised American ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, to hold talks with Iranian officials over the security situation in Iraq.' (Iran Focus)

Terrorist blasts kill 100 or more in Dahab, Egypt. Debka: 'At least 100 dead and injured in three large terrorist blasts that hit the crowded tourist sites of Dahab on the eastern Sinai coast Monday night. One explosion at a hotel left 17 dead, 120 injured. No word of Israeli casualties. Egyptian police seal access and exit to and from Dahab and closes the Taba border terminal. Israeli Magen David medical aid has gone on high emergency and sent ambulances with paramedics and blood supply to Taba. Israeli defense minister offers Egypt medical aid. Many private cars are helping ambulances evacuate casualties. The blasts hit the resort one day after Osama bin Laden released audiotape threatening the "crusader Zionists." A year ago, 88 people, many of them tourists, were killed in a triple blast at Sharm el-Sheikh to the south of Dahab. A year ago, 88 people, many of them tourists, were killed in a triple blast at Sharm el-Sheikh to the south of Dahab. Two years ago, many Israelis died in multiple al Qaeda attacks in Sinai. DEBKAfile`s counter-terror sources add: This year, Israelis joined the stream of foreign tourists to Sinai after Egypt informed Israel and the United States that its security forces had cleared the al Qaeda cells out of their sanctuaries in the central Sinai Hilal mountain range and the Bedouin tribes and the peninsula resorts were now safe. For the first time in three years, Jerusalem did not issue a warning to Israeli travelers to stay clear of Sinai.' (Debka)

Mofaz disappointed at dismissal. Jerusalem Post: 'Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz expressed disappointment Monday over his imminent dismissal from his post. "It is no secret that I wanted to stay on as defense minister, however I am prepared to fill any role which allows me to contribute to Israeli society," Mofaz said during a conference on the Iranian nuclear issue at Tel Aviv University. "After 40 years of serving in the defense establishment as a soldier, officer, chief-of-staff and defense minister, I have learnt how to make tough decisions and I will be willing to take on a new position in any field in the new government," added Mofaz.' (JPost)

Cross-posted at Dreams Into Lightning - TypePad