- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 6, 2002

Pakistan aide 'knows' kidnappers' identities
KARACHI, Pakistan Authorities know the identity of reporter Daniel Pearl's kidnappers and are "very close to resolving the case," a top police official said yesterday. Sources said three men had been arrested for sending last week's e-mails that contained photographs of Pearl.
Mukhtar Ahmed Sheikh, in charge of police here in Sindh province, refused to say who was behind the kidnapping. Pearl, 38, was last seen Jan. 23 on his way to meet a Muslim fundamentalist contact at a Karachi restaurant.
However, a U.S. State Department official said yesterday that Pakistani police are looking for Sheik Omar Saeed in connection with the kidnapping. Sheik Saeed was one of three men freed by India on Dec. 31, 1999, to end the hijacking of an Indian Airlines flight to Kandahar, Afghanistan. Authorities said the hijackers were acting in support of militants in Kashmir-Indian territory.
The Washington official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Mr. Pearl was supposed to be meeting with Sheik Saeed at the time of his kidnapping.

Thief lifts pair of Louvre items
PARIS The Louvre has reported that a pair of 18th-century candlesticks has disappeared from a museum storeroom just days after the world's largest museum was criticized by state auditors for a lack of vigilance.
Museum officials said yesterday that the pieces were first reported missing in December and, after an exhaustive search, the museum filed a police report Jan. 21.
The 10-inch silver candlesticks date to the late 18th century and are worth an estimated $26,000, the Louvre said.
The presumed theft would be the first at the Louvre since 1998, when a landscape by French painter Camille Corot was stolen from a gallery. The landscape, "The Sevres Road," valued at $1.3 million, has not been recovered.

Saudi security high-tech at Muslim hajj
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates Saudi Arabia is using digital eye scanners, fingerprint readers and other high-tech security equipment to search for terrorist suspects as hundreds of thousands of people arrive in the country for the Muslim hajj pilgrimage this month.
The kingdom expects close to 2.5 million people this year for the annual pilgrimage, which comes amid heightened tensions in the Muslim world following the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States and the subsequent war in Afghanistan. There are 5,000 U.S. troops stationed in Saudi Arabia.

Italians put al Qaeda suspects on trial
MILAN, Italy The suspected head of Osama bin Laden's European operations and three other Tunisians went on trial yesterday on charges of belonging to a terrorist group that crafted false passports and tried to obtain explosives.
Prosecutors asked a Milan court to hand down a six-year prison term for Essid Sami Ben Khemais, whom police believe was sent from Afghanistan to supervise bin Laden's terrorist operations in Europe, including a foiled attack on the U.S. Embassy in Rome.

Belgium apologizes for Lumumba killing
BRUSSELS In a historic gesture of atonement for a crime in its colonial past, Belgium apologized yesterday for its role in the 1961 assassination of Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba.
Foreign Minister Louis Michel apologized on behalf of the government for its responsibility in the fatal shooting of Lumumba, considered a hero for his fight against colonialism.
Lumumba was shot on Jan. 17, 1961, by police in the separatist Congolese province of Katanga in the presence of Belgian police and government officials.

Russia seeks parts from crashed jet
VLADIVOSTOK, Russia Russian military investigators are trying to recover missing parts of a fighter jet that contain some of the country's most jealously guarded military secrets, officials said yesterday. The parts in question belong to the onboard electronic identifier from a Sukhoi-27 fighter jet. The system allows air defense radar to distinguish between friendly and alien craft.

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