- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 5, 2004

GERMANY

Fourth suspect arrested in plot

BERLIN — German authorities yesterday arrested a fourth man on suspicion of involvement in an al Qaeda-linked group’s purported plot to kill Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi during his visit to Berlin last week.

Meanwhile, the three Iraqis already in custody for their purported roles in the plot denied the accusations against them during questioning yesterday by a judge, Der Spiegel newsweekly reported. The judge will decide whether to issue an arrest warrant against them.

The fourth suspect, a man with Lebanese citizenship, was arrested in Berlin on suspicion of supporting a foreign terrorist organization, federal prosecutors’ spokesman Hartmut Schneider said.

The three Iraqi men were arrested Friday just hours before Mr. Allawi met with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. The suspects are believed to belong to the Ansar al-Islam terror group, which has attacked U.S. and allied forces in Iraq since last year’s U.S.-led invasion.

GEORGIA

Opposition leader claims presidency

TBILISI — An opposition leader is preparing to swear himself in as president in Georgia’s breakaway republic of Abkhazia two months after a disputed election, defying Moscow in a situation that threatens to present the Kremlin with another Ukraine-type crisis.

The inauguration of opposition challenger Sergei Bagapsh tomorrow could force a showdown in the political crisis that has gripped Abkhazia since the Oct. 3 election.

Election officials declared Mr. Bagapsh the winner of the first contested presidential election in 10 years of self-declared independence for the mostly Muslim separatist region in northwest Georgia on the Black Sea.

As in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin openly backed the establishment candidate, former Prime Minister Raul Khadzhimba — and all indications are that Mr. Bagapsh won in spite of alleged fraud by the rival camp.

The region’s highest court declared Mr. Bagapsh the winner and then annulled its ruling when hundreds of supporters of Mr. Khadzhimba broke into the court building.

ITALY

Minister battles mafia on drugs

ROME — Italian Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisano stepped into the mafia drug war that has killed 119 persons in Naples so far this year and pledged his government’s determination yesterday to rid the city of its notorious crime syndicate, the Camorra.

“We wish to confront and liquidate the Camorra, and we will use all the means at our disposal to do so,” Mr. Pisano said during a visit to the city, where a crime chief’s apartment went up in flames yesterday in another apparent criminal attack.

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