- The Washington Times - Friday, December 27, 2002

FRANCE

Dragnet catches suspected terrorists

PARIS French police have detained four more Islamist militant suspects near Paris after the arrests last week of four Islamists believed to have been preparing a attack, a police source said yesterday.

The source told Reuters news agency that the latest arrests were made Tuesday in the northeast suburb of Romainville by France's DST anti-espionage unit but gave no more details.

Police said last week they arrested three Algerians and a Moroccan during the raid on the apartment in La Courneuve, where they discovered electronic parts used in detonators and a chemical that could be used in explosives.


TURKEY

Parliament opens path to power for Erdogan

ISTANBUL Turkey's parliament voted today to amend the constitution to clear the way for ruling party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan to run in a by-election as a first step to becoming prime minister.

Mr. Erdogan was banned from running in a Nov. 3 general election when his Justice and Development Party won a landslide victory because of a 1999 conviction for inciting religious hatred.

It was the second time parliament voted to change the constitution, defying a veto imposed on the first vote by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who argued that the law could not be fashioned to suit one person alone.


INDIA

Muslim militants kill teacher, sons

GOPALPORA Suspected Islamic guerrillas killed a teacher and his two sons in Indian-controlled Kashmir yesterday, the latest in a wave of attacks on civilians, police said.

Shortly before dawn, three men with automatic weapons hidden inside their flowing Kashmiri gowns entered the victims' house in the village of Gopalpora, forced the men into a room and shot them, said police Superintendent Mukesh Kumar.

Schoolteacher Mohammed Shafi Wani and his elder son, Noor Mohammed, died immediately. Jehangir Wani, the younger son, died hours later in a hospital, officers said.


KENYA

Dominant party faces election threat

NAIROBI Candidates crisscrossed Kenya in a final bid for support ahead of today's elections, where pundits predict Daniel arap Moi's Kenya Africa National Union party will be expelled from power after 39 years.

Despite appeals by clergy for peaceful voting, election violence reached the capital, Nairobi. Charges of fraud also surfaced.

The opposition National Rainbow Coalition, whose leader, Mwai Kibaki, is widely tipped to win the presidency, said three of its supporters were killed Wednesday night.


ALGERIA

Bin Laden couriers take message to Niger

ALGIERS Three members of al Qaeda delivered a message this month from Osama bin Laden to a leading Algerian Islamic rebel believed to be in neighboring Niger, news reports said yesterday.

The three emissaries, all Saudi nationals, traveled through Syria and Egypt and met Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a regional leader of Algeria's Islamic rebel Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat.

The group, known by its French acronym GSPC, is on the U.S. blacklist of "foreign terrorist organizations."


AFGHANISTAN

Rocket attack misses U.S. troops

BAGRAM The U.S. Army said yesterday it came under two separate rocket attacks in Afghanistan on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but no casualties or damage was reported.

The first attack came Tuesday evening when a rocket was fired at a U.S. base in the eastern Afghan village of Shkin but missed its target.

The second attack also came in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, when two rockets were fired at a U.S. base near the town of Khost, but also missed their target.

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