At least two Iraqi policemen and three US soldiers are killed in a gun battle in Karbala, after militia guarding the offices of a local Shia cleric ignore US requests to obey the night-time curfew.

US-led authorities announce that they have arrested about 80 people and seized 47 vessels in an operation aimed at limiting oil smuggling in the Gulf.

At least three people are killed in two attacks by Israeli planes and helicopters in the Gaza Strip, in what Israel claims are attempts to destroy Hamas’ weapons facilities.

The second annual UN Arab Human Development Report states that Arab states have used the war in Iraq as an excuse to restrict political rights.

Talks between the French and Libyan governments aimed at securing additional compensation for the families of victims of the 1989 UTA plane bombing, which killed 170, break down. Tripoli says Paris must first agree to pay compensation for its involvement in the Libya-Chad conflict in the 1980s.

Israeli forces kill 11 Palestinians in five separate plane and helicopter raids on the Gaza Strip.

US investigators say Syrian banks are holding about $3,000 million belonging to former members of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

US soldiers helping local police in Karbala arrest 32 followers of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

The UN General Assembly passes a motion demanding that Israel stop construction of the contentious ‘security fence’, which cuts deep into the Occupied Territories.

The Saudi Interior Ministry says that 83 detainees arrested following the 14 October political reform protests in Riyadh ‘will be handed over to the Sharia courts’.

King Abdullah appoints former minister for the royal court, Faisal al-Fayez, prime minister after accusing the outgoing government of Ali Abul-Ragheb of ‘weaknesses’.