Two US Black Hawk helicopters crash near the northern city of Mosul, killing 17 US troops. Witnesses report a surface-to-air missile hitting one of the aircraft.

President Saleh orders the release of 92 ‘reformed’ Islamist militant prisoners, many with links to Al-Qaeda, to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan.

US President Bush selects James Oberwetter, an oil industry lobbyist also has a long-standing relationship with the Bush family, as the next US ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

EU foreign policy and security commissioner Javier Solana says that Iran has, to date, been honest about its nuclear programme and that Tehran should not have to face the UN Security Council.

A Sudanese cargo plane explodes on final approach at the Wau airport in southern Sudan, killing 13 people.

A South American tourist is killed and at least four others are injured when a gunman opens fire near a border checkpoint between Israel and Jordan. The Jordanian assailant was shot dead by Israeli security officials.

President Mubarak collapses while delivering a televised speech to mark the opening of parliament. The 75-year-old leader returns to the podium to complete his speech and receives a standing ovation.

The UN Security Council votes unanimously in favour of a Russian-sponsored resolution endorsing the US-drafted ‘roadmap’ for peace. Israel put pressure on Moscow not to introduce the resolution.

A suicide bombing in the northern city of Kirkuk kills five people and injures at least 40 outside the regional headquarters of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

Bomb attacks on the British consulate and the HSBC headquarters in Istanbul leave at least 25 dead and up to 400 injured.