- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 4, 2004

ISRAEL

Palestinian boys killed by troops

BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip — Israeli troops fatally shot two Palestinian boys yesterday, pushing ahead with a broad military operation aimed at preventing militants from firing rockets at Israeli towns bordering the Gaza Strip.

Nine-year-old Ehab Shatat was killed by machine-gun fire, apparently from a tank-mounted gun, while standing near his home in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza. The army said it fired warning shots at a Palestinian mob that approached soldiers in a threatening manner, but it was not aware anyone was hit.

Hours later, troops killed a 16-year-old boy who Palestinian hospital and security officials said apparently was shot by a machine gun. The army said troops fatally shot a teenager who was throwing cement blocks at soldiers.

Troops have isolated Beit Hanoun from the rest of Gaza and razed agricultural land in an attempt to prevent militants from taking cover in orchards when firing rockets at Israel.

AFGHANISTAN

U.S. military probes new abuse claims

KABUL — The U.S. military is investigating a new claim of abuse in a network of secretive American jails where at least four captives have died, officials said yesterday.

The new cases add to concerns of reported prisoner abuse in Afghanistan — stretching back to the war that ousted the Taliban in late 2001 — which have drawn fresh attention since the scandal broke over detainee mistreatment in Iraq.

Maj. Jon Siepmann said the latest claim was reviewed by U.S. officials last week. The U.S. military recently opened at least two other investigations after former Afghan prisoners said they were beaten and sexually abused.

KENYA

Protesters defy police ban on rally

NAIROBI — Kenyan riot police armed with tear gas, batons and water cannons fought running battles in Nairobi yesterday with hundreds of people defying a ban on a rally for constitutional reform.

Kenya’s worst political crisis since President Mwai Kibaki was swept to power in December 2002 flared amid bitter rows over a new draft constitution and public disappointment that little has changed since President Daniel Arap Moi lost power.

Critics accuse Mr. Kibaki of deliberately blocking the new constitution, which would considerably trim his vast presidential powers.

SAUDI ARABIA

2 top militants declared dead

RIYADH — The No. 2 and No. 19 figures on Saudi Arabia’s most-wanted terrorist list have died from gunshot wounds suffered in an April shootout with police, the Interior Ministry said yesterday.

The bodies of Rakan Mohsin Mohammed al-Saikhan and Nasser Rashid Nasser al-Rashid have not been found. But investigations indicated they died because they received improper medical care as their comrades moved them from place to place fleeing the April 12 clash in the capital, Riyadh, which also killed one policeman, the ministry said.

If confirmed, the deaths would mean that at least 14 of the 26 militants on a most-wanted list issued in December are either dead or in custody.

BAHRAIN

U.S. Embassy cancels July 4 celebration

MANAMA — Terrorism fears in Bahrain have forced the cancellation of Fourth of July celebrations, the U.S. Embassy announced yesterday as the Navy prepared to evacuate families of service members and nonessential personnel from the tiny Persian Gulf island state.

The measures follow a State Department advisory on Thursday cautioning Americans against traveling to Bahrain, home of the U.S. 5th Fleet, and advising those who live there to leave.

On Friday, the Pentagon said it is withdrawing service members’ families and nonessential personnel from Bahrain for at least 30 days in response to intelligence on planned attacks by terrorists.

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