- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 23, 2004

SAUDI ARABIA

Ambassador to Libya recalled over plot

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador in Tripoli, Libya, yesterday because of what it called an “atrocious” Libyan plot to assassinate the kingdom’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Abdullah. Libya expressed surprise at the Saudi action and denied the accusation.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Tripoli had not yet laid to rest U.S. concerns about the suspected plot. He said this was an obstacle to dropping Libya from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism and ending related sanctions.

A U.S. court sentenced prominent U.S. Muslim activist Abdurahman al-Amoudi in October to 23 years in jail for illegal financial dealings with Libya and for his role in the plot.

TANZANIA

Court acquits man in embassy bombing

DAR ES SALAAM — A High Court judge yesterday found a Tanzanian businessman not guilty of conspiracy to commit murder in the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in the East African nation.

Judge Emilian Mushi ordered the immediate release of Rashid Saleh Hemed, 34, who was charged in connection with the terror attack that killed 12 persons and was blamed on Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network. A nearly simultaneous blast at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, the capital of neighboring Kenya, killed 219 persons, including 12 Americans.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Bank robbers took families hostage

BELFAST — A gang that pulled off one of the biggest cash thefts in history this week posed as police and walked into the homes of two bankers, taking their families hostage to force them to help in the audacious robbery in the capital, police and neighbors said yesterday.

Police said the gang got away with more than $42 million, more than originally estimated, from Northern Bank. Police didn’t learn of the crime until after 11 p.m. Monday, three hours after surveillance cameras recorded the gunmen’s cash-packed van disappearing down Belfast’s major highway.

ISRAEL

U.S. aims to seize Chinese drones

JERUSALEM — The United States is demanding that Israel not return to China drones that were sent to it for repairs and upgrading, the Ha’aretz newspaper reported yesterday.

Israeli government officials refused to comment on the report. The issue concerns Israeli-made Harpy assault drones that belong to China, Ha’aretz said.

The United States already has made Israel cancel the sale to China of a Phalcon radar system.

UKRAINE

Opposition leader fears vote trouble

KIEV — Opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko praised thousands of his supporters last night, telling a roaring crowd in the capital that they changed Ukraine without bloodshed — but he also warned of trouble during the presidential runoff this weekend.

Mr. Yushchenko did not say who was plotting against the Sunday court-ordered vote, but he called on his supporters’ “courage to defend the results of the election.”

The call echoed an appeal he made after the Nov. 21 runoff that his rival Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych won until the Supreme Court annulled the vote amid accusations of fraud.

RUSSIA

Long-range missile from Cold War tested

MOSCOW — Russia yesterday test-fired a Cold War-era long-range missile, originally designed to be capable of hitting the United States, local media reported.

The Voyevoda intercontinental ballistic missile — code-named SS-18 Satan in the West — hurtled more than 3,700 miles to its target in Russia’s Far East from a launch site in the Ural mountains.

It was the first time the missile, capable of carrying 10 nuclear warheads, has been launched on Russian soil since 1991, the year the Soviet Union collapsed. Previous launches had been from the Baikonour cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, which Russia rents from the former Soviet republic.

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