- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 26, 2007

LEBANON

Islamist leader vows to fight U.S., Jews

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The purported leader of the militant Fatah Islam group, which has been battling the Lebanese army in a Palestinian refugee camp, vowed yesterday to fight “the Americans and the Jews.”

Al Jazeera television, which broadcast the videotaped message, identified the man as Shaker al-Abssi and said it was the Palestinian’s first public appearance. The channel also aired footage of what it described as training camps for the Islamist group.

The threat was issued shortly after the United States delivered ammunition and other equipment to Lebanon to help the army defeat the Islamist group, which is holed up in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp.

GAZA STRIP

Israeli raids kill 7 Palestinians

GAZA CITY Israel stepped up its campaign against Hamas Islamists yesterday, killing five militants in Gaza in a wave of air strikes, while Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinian gunmen in Arab East Jerusalem.

Israel also seized a Palestinian Cabinet minister in the West Bank.

Giant plumes of black smoke rose over what remained of a Gaza City compound used by Hamas’ Executive Force, as well as other buildings used by Hamas.

SUDAN

U.N. peacekeeper killed at residence

KHARTOUM — A U.N. peacekeeper who was among a small group of reinforcements sent to Darfur was fatally shot at his residence — the world body’s first casualty since its long-negotiated arrival in the troubled region in western Sudan, officials said yesterday.

Gunmen looted the home of the U.N. peacekeeper — an Egyptian lieutenant colonel — in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state, and fatally shot him late Friday, the African Union and United Nations said.

The gunmen were thought to be burglars, but an official close to the investigation said authorities would not exclude other motives.

INDIA

8 killed in blast; bomb found on train

GAUHATI — A bomb exploded in a busy market in India’s restive northeast yesterday, killing eight persons and injuring 19, and authorities said they discovered and defused a large bomb hidden on a crowded passenger train headed for the area.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but police were investigating whether the United Liberation Front of Asom, a separatist rebel group, was involved. The ULFA, which has been fighting since 1979 for an independent homeland in Assam, has set off more than 20 bombs in two months, police said.

IRAN

Spy networks found, officials say

TEHRAN — Iran has uncovered spy networks on its territory organized by Western forces in Iraq and Iraqi groups, the Intelligence Ministry said in a statement published yesterday.

Iran has often accused the United States and Britain, which led the invasion of Iraq, of trying to undermine the security of the Islamic Republic. The ministry’s statement did not refer to either country by name.

KAZAKHSTAN

President’s son-in-law fired as envoy

ALMATY — Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev fired his son-in-law, diplomat Rakhat Aliyev, yesterday after Mr. Aliyev challenged the Kazakh leader by declaring he intended to run for the presidency.

The president dismissed Mr. Aliyev, his daughter Dariga’s husband, from the post of ambassador to Austria after ordering the police to investigate him on suspicion of kidnapping two senior bankers.

Mr. Aliyev, a powerful businessman and politician, said he fell out with Mr. Nazarbayev because of his political ambitions, and accused the veteran leader of the Central Asian state of trying to silence him.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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