- - Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Workers to pump oil from ship on Saturday

GIGLIO | A barge carrying a crane and other equipment hitched itself to the toppled Costa Concordia on Tuesday, signaling the start of operations to remove a half-million gallons of fuel from the grounded cruise ship.

Actual pumping of the oil isn’t expected to begin until Saturday. Teams from the Dutch shipwreck-salvage firm Smit were working on the bow of the Concordia on Tuesday, and divers were to make underwater inspections to identify the location of the fuel tanks.

Divers who blasted through a submerged section of the third-floor deck located another body from the wreckage, bringing the death toll to 16.

The Concordia ran aground and capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio on Jan. 13 after the captain veered from his approved course and gashed the ship’s hull on a reef, forcing the panicked evacuation of 4,200 passengers and crew.

The 16 bodies found so far include the one located on the third-floor deck Tuesday.


Israel arrests Hamas lawmaker

RAMALLAH | Israeli forces arrested a Hamas lawmaker at home in the West Bank city of Ramallah overnight, a source from the Islamist movement told Agence France-Presse Tuesday.

Abdul Jaber Fuqaha is the fifth Hamas official to be arrested by Israeli forces in the past five days.

On Thursday, Israeli troops arrested Aziz Dweik, another Hamas member, who is speaker of the Palestinian parliament. He was brought before a military court Tuesday and sentenced to six months of administrative detention, his office said.

On Friday, troops detained Hamas lawmaker Khaled Tafesh at his home in a village east of Bethlehem.

And on Monday, police arrested two senior Hamas officials who had been taking refuge in a building belonging to the International Committee of the Red Cross in annexed East Jerusalem.

Khaled Abu Arafah, a former minister for Jerusalem affairs, and Hamas lawmaker Mohammed Totah were detained Monday inside the Red Cross offices where they had taken refuge since July 1, 2010, alongside two other Hamas lawmakers who have since been arrested and deported to the West Bank.

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