- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Yemen offers to shield al Qaeda sympathizers


SAN'A, Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh urged any members of al Qaeda hiding in the provinces to surrender, promising they would not be handed over to the United States.

"If you haven't committed any hostile acts or violent deeds, you are part of us, and we will not make you stand trial and we will not hand you over to the Americans," he said Monday. "We are not going to hand over any Yemeni citizen to any foreign country."

Mr. Saleh said there was mention of al Qaeda members in Yemen during interrogation of prisoners at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He said his government has sent clerics to track them down.


Brotherhood trial to start Sept. 2

CAIRO The trial of 101 supporters of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, jailed after clashes during a June parliamentary by-election, will start Monday in Alexandria on charges including "stirring discord and undermining security," court sources said yesterday.

Police sources said the defendants attacked polling stations, damaged buses and blocked traffic during a hotly-contested election in which the ruling National Democratic Party beat out 20 other candidates, including two from the Brotherhood.

Witnesses said backers of rival parties started throwing bottles and stones at each other, then clashes broke out between Brotherhood supporters and the police. Domestic and foreign human rights groups say the government often sends police and petty criminals to prevent voters from entering polling stations in Islamist-dominated neighborhoods.


Lebanese militants fire at Israeli jets

BINT JBEIL, Lebanon The Lebanese Islamic movement Hezbollah opened anti-aircraft fire yesterday on Israeli fighter bombers violating Lebanese air space, police said here.

Hezbollah's armed wing, the Islamic Resistance, fired on the warplanes as they flew over the southern region of Bint Jbeil, but did not hit any, police said.

Israeli overflights of Lebanon are frequent, despite U.N. rulings that they violate the "blue line" the United Nations drew between the two countries after Israel ended its 22-year occupation of southern Lebanon in May 2000.


Weekly notes

Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Walid bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz refused yesterday to rule out the possibility that he will one day become prime minister of Lebanon. "I am a Saudi gentleman right now who has Lebanese nationality, and who will decide when the time comes," he told CNN in an interview on his yacht at Cannes, southern France. "Even if I deny it right now officially, will it put this [rumor] to bed?" he asked. Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika yesterday installed a new electoral commission that will oversee Oct. 10 municipal elections. Said Bouchair, former president of the Constitutional Council, was appointed coordinator.

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