* Israel prepares for assault on Gaza Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the Foreign Ministry on Thursday began preparing both Israeli and world opinion for the possibility of a large-scale incursion into Gaza.
* Hamas: Israel will flounder in Gaza like it did in Lebanon Hamas and the residents of Gaza closely followed reports of IDF forces assembling in and around the Strip ahead of a possible large-scale ground operation.
* UNSC to vote on new Iran sanctions Britain and France said they expect the Security Council to vote Saturday and approve new UN sanctions against Iran.
* Turkish troops 'move out of Iraq' Iraq's foreign minister has said all Turkish troops have left northern Iraq after mounting a controversial ground offensive against Kurdish rebels.
* US sends 3 warships to Mediterranean as tensions mount The US Navy is sending at least three ships, including at least one amphibious assault ship, to the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
* Putin seeks big election turnout Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged voters to take part in Sunday's presidential election, which his chosen successor is expected to win.
* 1st Temple seal found in City of David An ancient seal bearing an archaic Hebrew inscription dating back to the 8th century BCE has been uncovered in an archeological excavation in Jerusalem's City of David.
* Bush rules out talks with Iran US President George W. Bush on Thursday ruled out direct talks with Teheran during his remaining months in office.
* 'Chemical Ali' execution approved The execution of Saddam Hussein's cousin and henchman "Chemical Ali" has been approved by Iraq's presidency.* 'Israel foils attack on Dimona reactor' Israel recently foiled a terror attack on the Dimona nuclear reactor.