- The Washington Times - Friday, April 18, 2003

AFGHANISTAN
Pakistani troops make cross-border raid
KABUL Afghan and Pakistani security forces traded automatic-weapons fire along the rugged border, but no casualties were reported, officials from both sides said yesterday.
The clash came as Afghan President Hamid Karzai prepared to visit Pakistan to discuss border security, among other things. Afghan Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali said Pakistani forces crossed into the eastern village of Ghulam Khan and clashed with Afghan troops before withdrawing.
Pakistani Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad denied the clash took place at all.

IRAQ
Coalition forces target Iranian rebel group
CAMP AS SAYLIYAH, Qatar A cease-fire and surrender by an Iranian opposition group operating inside Iraq could come within days, U.S. Central Command said yesterday.
Spokesman Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks said coalition forces have been targeting bases in Iraq of the Mujahideen Khalq, also known as People's Mujahideen, which the United States and European Union consider a terrorist group.
U.S. officials say the group had several thousand fighters supported and directed by Saddam Hussein's regime. They are also accused of staging attacks inside Iran in a bid to overthrow the Tehran leadership.

LEBANON
Prime minister forms new government
BEIRUT Lebanon said yesterday that Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, whose sudden resignation brought down the government, had formed a new Cabinet that retained economic policy-makers but left out key Christian opposition figures.
The lineup did not include members of the Christian opposition to Syria's grip on Lebanon, who analysts had expected might gain a seat in the 30-member Cabinet, which must still be approved by Parliament.
Mr. al-Hariri resigned Tuesday in a move that paved the way for a new government, but lawmakers later voted to retain him and asked him to form a Cabinet.

WEST BANK
Congressmen visit Arafat, ending boycott
RAMALLAH A U.S. congressional delegation met Yasser Arafat yesterday in the first high-level American visit since Washington effectively boycotted the Palestinian leader last year.
The meeting came as newly appointed Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas moved closer to naming his government. A new Cabinet is a prerequisite for a U.S.-backed "road map" to peace.
The congressmen also met with Mr. Abbas. On Sunday, the delegation is to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad. Senior U.S. officials have accused Syria of providing Iraq with war materiel and of harboring terrorists.

NORTHERN IRELAND
British troops cited in killings
BELFAST Rogue elements of British security forces in Northern Ireland helped Protestant guerrillas kill Catholics during the "dirty war" against the Irish Republican Army, according to a report published yesterday.
The report, by Britain's top police officer, Sir John Stevens, comes at a time when Northern Ireland's rival Catholic and Protestant politicians are struggling to revive the peace process, and has prompted renewed calls for a public inquiry.
His report focuses on the work during the 1980s of the British army's shadowy Force Research Unit (FRU), which handled guerrilla agents, and the Special Branch, or intelligence unit, of the province's largely Protestant police force.

RUSSIA
Putin critic slain, politics blamed
MOSCOW Russian lawmaker Sergei Yushenkov, a critic of President Vladimir Putin, was shot to death yesterday near his Moscow apartment building, police and the legislator's wife said.
The speaker of Russia's lower parliamentary house branded his death a political killing.
Mr. Yushenkov, a leader of Russia's Liberal party, was shot at several times and hit in the chest, the Interfax news agency reported.

BURUNDI
Thousands flee fighting in capital
BUJUMBURA Thousands of civilians fled Burundi's capital, Bujumbura, yesterday after government troops exchanged heavy gunfire with rebels who were shelling the outskirts of the city, officials said.
An estimated 50,000 civilians fled toward Ruyaga and Buhonga, villages 10 miles southeast of the capital, while others escaped toward northern suburbs.
Fighting has continued in several parts of Burundi despite a cease-fire signed in December between the government and the Forces for the Defense of Democracy. The war between Tutsi-led government forces and Hutu rebels raged from 1993, killing some 300,000 people.

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