MIDDLE EAST: Sacrilege in Mecca

Agony and hysteria as zealots seize the Sacred Mosque

It was as great a sacrilege to devout Muslims as an attack on Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre would be to Christians, or a profanation of the Wailing Wall would be to Orthodox Jews. Last week, a day before the beginning of the Islamic New Year, a mysterious band of Muslim fanatics seized the Sacred Mosque of Mecca, taking an unknown number of hostages. At week's end, the situation at the Sacred Mosque was unclear. Government officials in Riyadh said that Saudi armed...

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