- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 25, 2003

SYRIA

Protest issued to U.S. on Iraq-border attack

DAMASCUS — Syria yesterday said it had protested to Washington over what U.S. officials have described as a military strike near the Iraqi-Syrian border last week in which several Syrian border guards were wounded.

In Damascus’ first official reaction, the Syrian Arab News Agency said Syria demanded Washington “return … the wounded soldiers to continue their treatment at a Syrian hospital to avoid any misunderstanding that might lead to an escalation that both sides do not desire.”

The United States said Tuesday it was discussing with Syria how to return five Syrian border guards wounded when U.S. special forces attacked a convoy believed to be carrying aides of toppled Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Three of the guards were still being treated for their wounds, U.S. officials said.

MALAWI

U.S. takes 5 suspects with al Qaeda links

BLANTYRE, Malawi — U.S. officials flew five men suspected of helping funnel money to al Qaeda out of Malawi, despite a court order preventing their deportation, Malawian officials said yesterday.

The men were arrested Sunday night with assistance from the CIA and handed over to U.S. authorities Monday night. The men were flown to nearby Botswana on an Air Malawi flight, the officials said.

YEMEN

6 militants killed in clash with troops

HATAT — Yemeni troops attacked an Islamic militant group’s mountain hide-out yesterday, killing at least six militants and capturing 11 others, after negotiations for their surrender fell apart, the government said.

The military had been surrounding the hide-out near the village of Hatat, 280 miles south of the capital San’a for days, seeking the surrender of gunmen who fled there after attacking a military medical convoy last weekend, wounding seven soldiers.

The gunmen belonged to the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army, a group sympathetic to al Qaeda that has been linked to last year’s attack on a French oil tanker off the coast that killed one crewman.

BURMA

Japan suspends aid over Suu Kyi detention

RANGOON — Japan, Burma’s largest donor, froze all financial aid to the country yesterday to punish its military government for detaining pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Japan appears to be rethinking its policy of engaging the junta in a dialogue with promises of aid — unlike the United States, the European Union and Britain, which have already imposed sanctions to press for Mrs. Suu Kyi’s freedom.

France yesterday said it has invited Mrs. Suu Kyi to the Bastille Day reception at its embassy in Rangoon on July 14 and expects the Burmese junta “to not put any obstacles in the way of her attendance,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said in Paris.

CHINA

First SARS case reported in 2 weeks

BEIJING — China reported its first case of SARS for two weeks yesterday, but the World Health Organization said there was no cause to worry about a fresh outbreak of the deadly disease.

The case was in the southern province of Guangdong, where the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome virus first appeared last year and which had gone weeks without a confirmed infection.

COLOMBIA

Marxist rebels kill ex-beauty queen

BOGOTA — Marxist rebels killed a former Miss Colombia and her businessman husband after kidnapping them six months ago, Colombia’s government said yesterday.

The bullet-ridden bodies of 65-year-old Doris Gil, Miss Colombia in 1957, and of her husband, Helmut Bickenbach, 68, were found Monday in mountains near the town of La Palma.

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