- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 18, 2010

PAKISTAN

Qaeda leader likely killed in U.S. raid

An al Qaeda leader thought to have played a key role in bombing a CIA post in Afghanistan last December was apparently killed by an American missile strike in Pakistan last week, a senior U.S. official said Wednesday.

The counterterrorism official said Hussein al-Yemeni was thought to have been killed in a strike in Miram Shah, the main town in North Waziristan.

Al-Yemeni is considered an important al Qaeda planner and explosives expert who had established contact with groups ranging from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to Afghan and Pakistani Taliban militant groups. The counterterrorism official said al-Yemeni was in his late 20s or early 30s and was a conduit in Pakistan for funds, messages and recruiting but that he specialized in suicide operations.

A jihadist Web site linked to al Qaeda recently announced his death, said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer who now is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center.

In the CIA base attack, a Jordanian suicide bomber killed seven CIA employees and a Jordanian intelligence officer. The bomber, a Jordanian doctor identified as Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, detonated his cache of explosives at Camp Chapman, a tightly secured base in Khost.

THAILAND

Thaksin said to be in Montenegro

PODGORICA, Montenegro | Montenegrin police confirmed Wednesday that former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, on the run from corruption charges, is in Montenegro and holds a passport of this Adriatic republic.

Mr. Thaksin arrived on March 13 by a private plane from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to the Montenegrin coastal town of Tivat, police said. Mr. Thaksin is a citizen of Montenegro, police said.

The populist former prime minister was ousted in a 2006 coup, and has been living abroad to avoid a prison term for corruption.

In Thailand, protesters hurled bags of their own blood at the prime minister’s residence Wednesday on the fourth day of a rally in support of Mr. Thaksin. The government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has rejected an ultimatum by protesters who have demanded immediate elections.

CHINA

U.S. House assails Falun Gong ban

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday urged China to end its “persecution” of the Falun Gong and rejected Beijing’s charge that the banned spiritual movement is an “evil cult.”

In a nearly unanimous vote, the House called on China to free thousands of practitioners who are said to be imprisoned and to abolish an office tasked with fighting the Falun Gong.

TURKEY

Leader threatens to deport Armenians

ANKARA | Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to expel thousands of illegal Armenian immigrants after U.S. and Swedish lawmakers passed votes branding World War I-era killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide.

Turkey, a NATO member and candidate to join the European Union, recalled its ambassadors to Washington and Stockholm after the nonbinding votes and warned they could hurt a fragile effort to reconcile with Armenia after a century of hostility.

Asked about the votes in an interview with the BBC’s Turkish service that was broadcast late Tuesday, Mr. Erdogan said: “There are currently 170,000 Armenians living in our country. Only 70,000 of them are Turkish citizens, but we are tolerating the remaining 100,000. If necessary, I may have to tell these 100,000 to go back to their country because they are not my citizens. I don’t have to keep them in my country.”

Mr. Erdogan accused the Armenian diaspora of pushing the resolutions in the United States and Sweden.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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