- The Washington Times - Friday, September 1, 2006

IRAN

Plane catches fire on landing; 29 dead

TEHRAN — An Iranian passenger plane skidded off the runway during landing in the northeastern city of Mashhad and raked its wing along the ground, sparking a fire that killed 29 of the 148 persons on board.

The 11 crew members survived. The flight by Iran Airtour, which is affiliated with Iran’s national air carrier — was arriving from Bandar Abbas on Iran’s southern coast. The craft was a Russian-made Tupolev 154.

Mashhad, located 620 miles northeast of Tehran, is visited by some 12 million people a year on pilgrimage to its Shi’ite Islamic shrines.

JAPAN

Abe enters race for prime minister

HIROSHIMA — Shinzo Abe, the front-runner to be Japan’s next prime minister, announced his candidacy yesterday, promising to defend Japan’s interests and maintain the security alliance with the United States.

Mr. Abe, currently chief Cabinet secretary and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s right-hand man, has a hefty lead in opinion polls in the Sept. 20 contest for president of the ruling party, a post that virtually guarantees election as prime minister.

LEBANON

U.N. panel to probe Israeli rights abuses

GENEVA — The U.N. Human Rights Council yesterday appointed a Brazilian diplomat, a Tanzanian judge and a Greek professor to a commission investigating whether Israel committed systematic human rights abuses in Lebanon during recent fighting with Hezbollah militants.

The committee comprises Brazil’s Clemente Baena Soares, a former secretary-general of the Organization of American States; Mohamed Chande Othman, who sits on Tanzania’s supreme court and Stelios Perrakis, a professor of international studies and a member of the Council of Europe, the Continent’s human rights watchdog.

MOROCCO

Pilot wives among 56 held in terror plot

RABAT — Security agents broke up a group planning terrorist attacks on tourist sites and government facilities, arresting 56 persons, including soldiers and the wives of two pilots at the state airline, the Interior Ministry said yesterday.

Analysts said the involvement of security forces and the pilots’ wives in the purported plot is a troublesome development that showed Islamic extremism is moving out of the North African kingdom’s slums and into the middle class.

EGYPT

Five terror suspects sought in Sinai

CAIRO — Egyptian police are searching for five suspected militants in Sinai, focusing on areas surrounding popular tourist resorts in the region and nearby bedouin camps, security sources said.

Police were checking laptops for explosive devices that they thought were brought into the area by militants posing as tourists.

PAKISTAN

Rebel chief buried; family kept away

DERA BUGTI — An elderly rebel chief whose killing by Pakistani security forces last weekend sparked violent protests was hastily buried yesterday in his hometown in the southwest province of Baluchistan.

Only about 30 members of Nawab Akbar Bugti’s tribe and government officials but no members of his immediate family were present during the funeral at the family’s ancestral graveyard in Dera Bugti, 150 miles southeast of the provincial capital, Quetta.

Mr. Bugti, 79, was killed on Aug. 26 during an assault on his hide-out.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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