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U.S. assails Israel in new vote

The United States on Wednesday joined the 14 other members of the United Nations Security Council in voting to rebuke Israel for rejecting a U.N. investigation into the Oct. 8 killings of Palestinian rioters in Jerusalem. It was the second time in less than twoweeks that the United States voted in the Security Council against its main Middle East ally.

Israel considers such an investigation to be an encroachment on its claims of sovereignty over all Jerusalem. Many nations, including the United States, disagree with that claim.

President Bush sent a letter to the Israeli prime minister shortly before Wednesday's vote, urging him to cooperate with the probe and telling him it was "important to all of us to have the focus back on Iraq" and its Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait. He reportedly refused.

A senior Saudi official said Iraq has increased its forces in southern Iraq and Kuwait, amassing as many as 500,000 soldiers there as well as hundreds of anti-aircraft missiles and several thousand armored units.

With hundreds of thousands of U.S. and other troops assembled in the Persian Gulf to counter Iraq, Baghdad earlier moved about 700 American, British, French, German and Japanese detainees to strategic sites to deter attack.

One British hostage freed by Iraq along with several dozen others returned home to England Wednesday saying Westerners held at an armaments factory outside Baghdad rioted over mistreatment by what he called "sadistic guards."

In Kuwait, meanwhile, two months after Iraq tried to close down the U.S. Embassy there by cutting off its water supply, American diplomats demonstrated their defiance by washing their fleet of automobiles, the State Department said.