President Bouteflika announces he is to run in the 8 April presidential elections. Reports say three former prime ministers are among an estimated 40 candidates who will take part.

Eight people are killed when a Palestinian suicide bomber attacks a Jerusalem bus. Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claims responsibility for the attack. Later the same day, Israeli forces respond by demolishing the bomber’s home, near Bethlehem.

Thirteen people are killed in a suicide car bombing at a police station in the northern city of Kirkuk. The attack comes as US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrives in Baghdad on a surprise visit to assess the security situation.

An International Court of Justice (ICJ) hearing into the legality of the West Bank separation barrier that Israel is building begins at The Hague at the request of the UN General Assembly. About 12 countries are expected to present arguments opposing the project. The US, Britain, the EU and many Western nations have publicly criticised the barrier’s route but are staying away from the hearing.

An Egyptian law that allows journalists to be imprisoned for libel, insults or defamation is to be scrapped. The head of Egypt’s journalists’ union, Galal Aref, tells a delegation of reporters in Cairo that President Mubarak has informed him of the decision during a phone call. Aref says a proposed law will be put to the National Assembly soon.

A government spokesman has described the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme as ‘purely procedural’, after the IAEA says in a report on 24 February that Iran has not answered several questions regarding its nuclear activities.

Israeli troops seal off four Palestinian banks in Ramallah, confiscating money from account holders ‘with militant links’.

Two Russians, thought to be security service agents, are arrested and charged with involvement in the killing of former Chechen president Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, Qatari authorities announce. Yandarbiyev and two bodyguards were killed in an attack on their car in Doha on 13 February.