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News Brief

April 24, 2006
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Osama bin Laden said the West’s refusal to financially support a Hamas-led Palestinian government proves that the United States and Europe are at war with Islam. In an audiotape broadcast Sunday by Al-Jazeera, a voice believed to be that of the Al-Qaida leader called the cutoff in aid to the Palestinian Authority a “blockade” that “proves that there is a Zionist crusader war on Islam.”

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is expected to form a 27-minister Cabinet. Olmert entered the last stage of government coalition talks Sunday, with his top prospective partner, Labor Party chief Amir Peretz, slated to take the Defense Ministry. Olmert’s Kadima, meanwhile, is expected to keep the key finance and foreign affairs portfolios. Olmert would likely expand the number of Cabinet portfolios to 27.

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