CAIRO (AP) -- Leading democracy advocate Mohammed ElBaradei says dialogue with Egypt's Islamist president is not possible until he rescinds his decrees giving himself near absolute powers.
Speaking to a handful of journalists, including The Associated Press, ElBaradei says he is hoping for a "smooth transition without plunging the country into a cycle of violence."
But he says that may not be possible unless President Mohammed Morsi rescinds the decrees.
ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace laureate for his past work as the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, has formed a "National Salvation Front" with other liberal and secular leaders, trying to unify the opposition against Morsi.
In the decrees issued this week, Morsi put himself above judicial scrunity.
CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's official news agency says that the country's highest body of judges has called the president's recent decrees an "unprecedented assault on the independence of the judiciary and its rulings."
In a statement carried on MENA Saturday, the Supreme Judicial Council says they regret the declarations President Mohammed Morsi issued Thursday.
The council is packed with judges appointed by former President Hosni Mubarak. It regulates judicial promotions and is chaired by the head of the Court of Cassation.
The judges released their statement following an emergency meeting Saturday, a day after tens of thousands of Egyptians demonstrated to denounce Morsi's decision.
The edicts give him near-absolute power and immunity from appeals in courts for any decisions or laws he declares until a new constitution and parliament is in place.
BEIRUT (AP) -- The Lebanese army says it has arrested five Syrians for possession of explosives, the latest incident fanning fears that Syria's civil war is spilling across the border.
An army statement says the five were arrested in the southern market town of Nabatiyeh Saturday following a tip that they were involved in "suspicious security activity." Army personnel seized 450 grams of explosives, a detonator, and ammunition for a 160 mm mortar with Hebrew writing on it, the statement said.
The arrest came on the eve of Ashoura, the annual Shiite commemoration of the 7th-century death of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, marked by processions in Shiite towns including Nabatiyeh.
Lebanese media reports said the suspects planned to attack Shiites marking Ashoura Sunday. An army spokesman declined comment pending judicial investigations.
Arafat's remains to be exhumed Tuesday: official
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- A Palestinian official says the remains of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat will be exhumed on Tuesday to enable foreign experts to take samples as part of a probe into his death.
Arafat died in November 2004, a month after suddenly falling ill, and Palestinian officials have insisted he was poisoned by Israel. Israel has denied such allegations. The detection of traces of a lethal radioactive substance in biological stains on Arafat's clothing earlier this year sparked a new investigation.
Former Palestinian intelligence chief Tawfik Tirawi, who heads the committee investigating Arafat's death, said Saturday that Swiss, French and Russian experts would take samples from Arafat's remains on Tuesday. Tirawi says Arafat would be reburied the same day with military honors.
Back to school in Gaza after Israel offensive
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Tens of thousands of children are returning to school in the Gaza Strip after eight days of cross-border fighting between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which rules the coastal enclave.
Israel carried out about 1,500 airstrikes against Hamas-linked targets in Gaza, while militants fired about as many rockets into Israel.
The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights said that 156 Palestinians were killed, including 33 children and minors under 18. Rockets from Gaza killed six Israelis. The group says most of more than 1,000 wounded Gazans were civilians. Dozens of Israelis were also hurt.
Gaza's schools reopened Saturday. Adnan Abu Hassna, spokesman for a U.N. aid agency, says tens of thousands of students at 245 U.N.-run schools spent the first day talking about their experiences during the fighting.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Afghan authorities say one person has been killed and six hurt in a clash between Sunni and Shiite students at Kabul University.
An Associated Press reporter at the scene said Shiite and Sunni students started fighting and by evening, several hundred more people joined the melee.
Damage was reported to buildings at the university and classes have been canceled for 10 days.
Witnesses say the clash was related to Ashoura, the commemoration of the 7th century death of the Prophet Mohammad's grandson.
Other gatherings in the Afghan capital marking the Shiite holy day were peaceful. But last year, a suicide bomber on foot struck worshippers at a Shiite shrine in Kabul, killing at least 80 people.
Some Sunni extremists consider Shiite ceremonies to be heretical.
Elsewhere in Afghanistan, NATO says a service member with the international military coalition was killed today in an insurgent attack in the south.
So far this year, 379 NATO service members have died in Afghanistan.
RABAT, Morocco (AP) -- Moroccan security forces dismantled a cell recruiting young men to fight with al-Qaida-linked groups in northern Mali, the Interior Ministry said Saturday.
The statement said that a group operating across the country were inculcating young men with "al-Qaida" ideology and then smuggling them across the closed border with Algeria from where they headed to Mali for military training.
The men would then join either al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb or its offshoot, The Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, which have taken control over much of northern Mali.
Northern Mali fell to Islamist extremists in April, after coup leaders toppled the government in Bamako, Mali's capital. France has been pushing for a military intervention by Mali's army, bolstered by other African troops, to drive the Islamists from power.
Both al-Qaida-linked groups are reported to consist largely of foreign fighters from North Africa and elsewhere across the Islamic world and have kidnapped and ransomed dozens of Westerners.
The statement added that one of the Moroccans fighters had been sent back to Morocco to carry out sabotage and was arrested.
A Malian living in Morocco that had been in contact with one of the groups was also arrested. The statement did not elaborate how many people had been detained in total.
Morocco frequently announces dismantling small cells planning terrorist attacks inspired by al-Qaida, but the terror network is not believed to have a real presence in this North African kingdom of 32 million people.
Early in the month, the government announced dismantling two other cells, one planning to set up a training camp in the northern mountains, another hoping to get in touch with al-Qaida and attack tourist sites.
Morocco's last major terrorist attack was in April 2011, when a bomb exploded in a cafe popular with tourists in Marrakech, killing 17.
4 killed during Shiite gathering in Yemeni capital
SANAA, Yemen (AP) -- Yemeni security officials say that four Shiites were killed when unknown assailants fired a rocket-propelled grenade into a gathering of worshippers observing the holy day of Ashoura.
Officials say the attack took place Saturday in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, near the airport road.
The assailants fired the weapon at a celebration hall where worshippers had gathered, killing four people outside. No further details were immediately available.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.
Tensions have long existed between extremist Salafis, who are Sunni Muslims, and Shiite tribesmen known as Hawthis who have also at times battled the government. Nearly 200 people died in fighting late last year between Salafis and Hawthis in northern Saada province.
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