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Iraq starts training Al Quds volunteers

DAWN, 1 March 2001

BAGHDAD, March 10: The first volunteers for a Jerusalem Liberation Army set up by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein have started training in Baghdad and the provinces, official news agency INA reported on Saturday.

Celebrations were held to see off the volunteers and slogans chanted to glorify Saddam Hussein and Palestine, the agency said.

The Iraqi leader on Feb 17 ordered 21 military divisions to be created for the army. The volunteers are to be commanded and trained by Iraqi army officers.

Iraq, a fierce opponent of the Middle East peace process, has already announced the mobilization of more than 6.5 million volunteers for a jihad against the Jewish state and urged Israel's neighbours to open their borders.

VESSEL SEIZED: Kuwait's coast guard has seized a small Emirati oil tanker on suspicion of breaking the UN embargo slapped on Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

The vessel, carrying 1,450 tons of Iraqi oil and carrying 13 Iranian, three Iraqi, two Pakistani and two Bangladeshi crew members, was seized inside Kuwait's territorial waters on Friday, Al-Rai Al-Aam said.

The Honduran-registered vessel, named Al-Sabah and owned by Dubai's Al-Anan Company, was heading from Umm Qasr port in Iraq to the United Arab Emirates, the paper said.-AFP