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World Briefs

- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 9, 2010


4 al Qaeda prisoners escape U.S. custody

BAGHDAD | Four prisoners with links to al Qaeda being guarded by American troops escaped from a maximum-security prison in Baghdad and are still at large, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Thursday.

The breakout from Karkh Prison, formerly called Camp Cropper, is an embarrassment for the U.S. military, which has handed over control of all of the detention facilities to the Iraqi government.

But at the request of the Iraqis, the U.S. has retained custody over some of the most dangerous prisoners, including those with ties to terrorist groups or Saddam Hussein's former regime.

U.S. troops found two detainees trying to escape from the compound Wednesday, the military said. When troops conducted a sweep of the whole facility, they discovered that four other detainees were missing.

There was no details on how the escape occurred, who was to blame or the identities of the fugitives.


Intelligence chief taking new post

KABUL | The top U.S. and NATO intelligence officer in Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn, is moving to a senior intelligence job in Washington, two defense officials said Thursday.

Army spokesman Col. Thomas Collins confirmed Gen. Flynn would be taking up a new post but would not specify it because the move has not yet been approved by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

However, two defense officials said Gen. Flynn would be promoted to lieutenant general and become a top troubleshooter for the new director of national intelligence, James Clapper. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss matters of intelligence.

Another U.S. official said the position Gen. Flynn may take is believed to be assistant director for national intelligence for partner engagement. The official also spoke the on condition of anonymity.

Gen. Flynn, who has held the post in Afghanistan since June 2009, is expected to be replaced by Brig. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, the current intelligence chief for the U.S. Central Command in Florida.


Bombers hit airport after leader departs

MOGADISHU | A suicide bomber's car exploded at the gate to Mogadishu's airport Thursday, and suicide bombers in a second vehicle rushed toward the terminal before blowing up themselves short of their goal, officials said. Up to 14 people were killed, including five attackers.

The coordinated assault by al-Shabab fighters was the latest in a surge of attacks by Islamist insurgents, who last month declared a new, stepped-up effort to oust the country's weak government. The barrage took place about 40 minutes after Somalia's president flew out of the country.

After the suicide bomber's car exploded at the front gate, 500 yards from the terminal, between two and four suicide bombers exited a second vehicle and battled security forces.

At least two of the suicide bombers - who were wearing Somali military uniforms - forced their way into the airport grounds and ran toward the terminal.


U.N. soldier shot, robbed at bank

PORT-AU-PRINCE | The United Nations mission in Haiti said one of its peacekeepers and a civilian woman were shot by robbers outside a bank in the capital.

U.N. police spokesman Jean-Francois Vezina said three gunmen approached on motorcycles and shot the off-duty Yemeni soldier as he left a Scotiabank branch Thursday morning.

The robbers took an undisclosed amount of money from the soldier, who was not in uniform.

Mr. Vezina said the soldier was in stable condition with a bullet wound in his shoulder. The Haitian woman injured in the attack in the capital's Petionville neighborhood also was receiving treatment.


Marines take back pirate-held ship

MANAMA, Bahrain | U.S. Marine commandos stormed a pirate-held cargo vessel off the Somalia coast Thursday, reclaiming control of the ship and taking nine prisoners without firing a shot, the U.S. Navy said.

The Navy declined to give specific tactics used in the pre-dawn raid, but it ranks among the most dramatic high seas confrontations with pirates by an international task force created to protect shipping lanes off lawless Somalia.

Lt. John Fage, a spokesman at the U.S. Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain, said the operation took about an hour and no injuries were reported among the Marines or crew of the German-owned Magellan Star, which was commandeered by pirates on Wednesday.

A Turkish frigate on anti-piracy patrols, TCG Gokceada, first responded to a distress call from the Magellan Star, which flies the flag of Antigua and Barbuda.

The U.S. team from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Maritime Raid Force launched the assault from aboard the USS Dubuque, an amphibious transport ship, a U.S. Navy statement said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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