- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 30, 2004

GAZA STRIP

Israel assassinates top Hamas commander

JERUSALEM — A senior Hamas commander, his assistant and a bystander were killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City today, hours before Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was to meet his Cabinet over his plan to pull soldiers and settlers out of Gaza.

Hamas called the attack a “cowardly assassination crime” and said it killed Wael Nassar, 38, a top Hamas commander; his assistant, Mohammed Sarsour, 31; and an unidentified bystander. The two Hamas leaders were on a motorcycle when it exploded, witnesses said.

The Israeli military said its air force carried out the strike.

IRAN

Relief copter crashes; governor dead

CHALOUS — A helicopter taking a governor and his entourage from the site of a deadly earthquake crashed in the mountains of northern Iran yesterday, killing everyone aboard, official Tehran television reported.

The crash occurred as army helicopters ferried rescue teams to mountain villages in northern and central Iran cut off by landslides caused by the quake Friday, when at least 35 people were killed and 250 were injured.

Those killed in the helicopter crash included Masoud Emami, the governor of Qazvin province, three of his aides and a journalist working for Iran’s state-run television, according to the television report.

MEXICO

Iraqi prisoner abuse criticized at summit

GUADALAJARA — Latin America and Europe capped a summit with a condemnation of Iraqi prisoner abuse and calls for support for the International Criminal Court and the Kyoto Protocol — indirect criticisms of the United States that never mentioned the world’s superpower by name.

That omission was apparently a nod to Washington from the leaders of 58 nations meeting Friday in the third summit between the European Union and Latin America. It rankled Cuba, the only delegation to withhold its approval of the final declaration.

CONGO

U.N. peacekeeper killed in ambush

KINSHASA — Gunmen ambushed U.N. military observers in eastern Congo yesterday, killing one peacekeeper and slightly wounding another, a U.N. spokesman said.

Two other observers escaped unharmed, including one who was reported missing earlier, U.N. spokesman Sebastien Lapierre said.

The U.N. observers were leaving the small town of Kalehe, about 30 miles north of the eastern city of Bukavu, at about dawn when armed men in uniform fired on their vehicle.

BRITAIN

Prince William mulls a military career

LONDON — Prince William, 21, hinted yesterday that he will join the armed forces when he graduates from University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

William, second in line to the throne after his father, Prince Charles, praised British soldiers for risking their lives for their country and said he would be proud to do the same.

“I haven’t really ruled anything out, but a career in the armed forces would be the best thing at the moment because it would be lovely to recognize all the hard work that the armed forces are doing,” the prince said at Prince Charles’s Duchy Home Farm in Gloucestershire.

RUSSIA

Explosion derails train near Chechnya border

VLADIKAVKAZ — A passenger train traveling from Moscow to a provincial capital in southern Russia was hit by an explosion yesterday, derailing seven cars and lightly injuring about six people, officials said. No one was killed.

The train was bound for Vladikavkaz, the capital of the province of North Ossetia near Chechnya, when an explosive device detonated near the village of Elkhotovo at 7:27 a.m. local time, said Alan Doyev, a spokesman for the regional police.

An official in the Interior Ministry said that six persons were injured.

AFGHANISTAN

Four U.S. soldiers killed in battle

KABUL — Four U.S. service members were killed in action in southern Afghanistan yesterday, the U.S. military said.

The deaths occurred in the southern province of Zabul, where Islamic militants, including remnants of the ousted Taliban and the al Qaeda network, regularly have staged attacks.

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