A Chronology of U.S.-Middle East Relations

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Facts for Your Files

March 1: U.S. ground and air forces pounded alleged Taliban and al-Qaeda positions in eastern Afghanistan as the U.N. began returning refugees to Afghanistan.

* The Bush administration urged abolishing international court tribunals by 2008 as inefficient and threatening to U.S. sovereignty.

* The White House approved a plan to send hundreds of U.S. troops to Yemen as advisers.

* British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon said the UK would back a US. move against Iraq if conditions were right.

* Israeli forces continued their assault on Jenin refugee camp, killing five Palestinians and wounding 36. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers killed a 7-year-old child.

* Libya offered compensation to families of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing victims even if the Libyan defendant on trial is acquitted.

* Breaking a 3-month stalemate, Kosovo Albanian political parties agreed to a coalition.

* In a third day of rioting in Ahmedabad, India, Hindus set fire to Muslim huts, killing 52 and wounding 17, and police with orders to shoot on sight killed nine and wounded 70.

March 2: Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters repulsed a U.S.-led ground assault on Shah-i-- Kot in in the eastern Afghan mountains.

* A Palestinian infiltrated a Jerusalem settlement, blowing up himself and nine others, including a child, and wounding 30.

* Seven suspected Islamists were killed in a shootout with police in Macedonia.

March 3: As the US. continued bombing caves in eastern Afghanistan, an earthquake registering 7.2 killed several people.

* Palestinians attacked Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint near Ramallah, killing seven, including three children, and wounding six.

* The Muslim Women's Congress concluded in Cordoba, Spain with a call to the West to end negative stereotypes.

* Philippine troops killed two Muslim separatists on Basilan and four on Jolo Island.

March 4: As Guantanamo Bay prisoners entered the sixth day of a hunger strike, FBI Director Robert Mueller said DNA samples have been taken from all prisoners for an "anti-terror" database.

* In a failed attempt to assassinate Hamas activist Hussein Abu Kweik, an Israeli tank fired on a private vehicle and killed his wife and three children, and two other children.

* Seven U.S. servicemen were killed and 11 wounded in fighting in eastern Afghanistan.

* Continuing religious riots in Gujarat, India killed six, including two by police.

* Some nine armed U.S. Green Berets joined 200 Philippine soldiers to search a former Abu Sayyaf camp on Basilan Island.

March 5: An armed Palestinian attacked a nightclub in Tel Aviv, killing three and wounding 24 before being killed. Two more Israelis were killed in a suicide bus bombing and on an Israeli-only road in the West Bank. Later, an Israeli group planted a bomb in a Palestinian schoolyard outside Jerusalem that wounded 24 children and two staff members after the playground was evacuated.

* Algerian security forces killed 11 Islamists suspected of killing 15 Algerian troops in two earlier incidents.

* As U.S. Marine attack helicopters joined Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan's eastern mountains, US. government spokesmen said increased al-Qaeda Internet traffic was originating in Pakistan and environs with the intent to regroup.

* Two police reports implicated politicians in the leadership of attacks on Muslims that killed 512 people in India's Gujarat state.

March 6: The Bush administration cautioned Israel that its hard-line policies toward the Palestinians would not work.

* U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson charged the U.S. with causing excessive civilian deaths in Afghanistan.

* Eight Palestinians were killed and 14 wounded, and two Israeli soldiers killed and three wounded, when Israeli forces raided six areas of the Gaza Strip, bombed a school for the blind, and fired a missile at a meeting of 12 senior Palestinian security officials. …