St. Petersburg Times
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Antiwar groups planning protests

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 18, 2003

Antiwar activists are designing a wide menu of protest strategies, from provocation to prayer, for the outbreak of a war with Iraq.

Having had months to plan, antiwar activists say they are ready to mark the first days of war with protests in dozens of cities coast to coast.

They vow to block federal buildings, military compounds and streets in a rash of peaceful civil disobedience. They say they will walk out of college classes, picket outside city halls and state capitols, and recite prayers of mourning at interfaith services.

Israel preparing to defend citizens

JERUSALEM -- The Israeli Home Front Command was poised Monday night to instruct Israelis to prepare airtight rooms in their houses against possible biological or chemical attacks, a military spokesman said.

Pamphlets explaining the procedure, which involves plastic sheeting and heavy-duty tape, were earlier distributed to every Israeli household, as were gas masks, said Israeli army spokesman Jacob Dallal.

The preparations anticipate an imminent U.S.-led strike on Iraq. Also under way is a limited callup of reserve soldiers in the Home Front Command as well as antiaircraft and intelligence units.

MOTHER, SONS DIE IN SEALED ROOM: A mother and two teenage sons, Israeli Arabs from the town of Kufr Kassem near Tel Aviv, suffocated in a sealed room they had prepared in case of an Iraqi chemical missile attack, Israeli police said Monday.

Police said the three died because a coal-fueled heater in an adjacent room sucked oxygen from the room they were sleeping in, which was designed to stop air from entering.

Around 5 a.m., the husband awoke and realized his wife, 37, and two of their children, ages 13 and 14, were not breathing, police said. Two other children, age 3 and 4, survived.

NBC, ABC reporters withdraw from Iraq

NEW YORK -- Two American television networks, concerned that a war with Iraq could be imminent, are removing their reporters from Baghdad.

NBC News decided to pull its six-member television crew after comments from the Bush administration indicating that a military conflict could begin within days, network spokeswoman Allison Gollust told the New York Times.

On Monday, two foreign reporters from ABC also said they were leaving. A week ago, there were 450 foreign journalists in Baghdad. On Monday, the number was down to 300, Iraq's Information Ministry said.

The Bush administration has advised journalists to leave Baghdad, but NBC and ABC would be the first major television networks to remove staff voluntarily from the Iraqi capital.

The Fox News Channel was expelled from the city last month.

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