- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 19, 2003

MOROCCO

Suicide terrorists sentenced to die

CASABLANCA — A Moroccan court sentenced four men to death early today for involvement in Casablanca suicide bombings in May that killed 32 bystanders.

The four were convicted of plotting to blow themselves up in the May 16 attacks in the coastal city of Casablanca.

They were among dozens of defendants in a trial of suspected members of a clandestine Moroccan group, the Salafia Jihadia. Moroccan authorities have linked the group to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network.

AFGHANISTAN

Taliban attack, battles rage

KABUL — Fierce battles during the weekend, in which hundreds suspected of being Taliban fighters stormed into two towns and overran police stations, marked an escalation of a guerrilla war against supporters of the U.S.-backed government.

Just hours after a raid on a police station killed 22 persons, fighters attacked another police compound in southeast Afghanistan, setting it ablaze and taking four police officers hostage, officials said yesterday.

Both attacks took place in Paktika province, a Taliban stronghold that borders Pakistan.

CHINA

Flying Tigers plane to be raised from lake

BEIJING — Engineers and divers will use high-tech ocean-searching and mapping gear to lift an American fighter plane that crashed into a southwestern Chinese lake during World War II, organizers said yesterday.

The P-40 fighter, a propeller plane with the legendary American Flying Tigers squadron, crashed into Lake Dian near the city of Kunming, one of China’s wartime capitals, during a training mission in April 1942. The cause of the crash is not known.

The pilot, John Blackburn of Texas, who was killed in the crash, was recovered, but the plane remained in the lake for six decades.

LIBYA

Britain requests end to sanctions

NEW YORK — Britain asked the U.N. Security Council yesterday to quickly end sanctions on Libya, but France said the North African state could not turn the page on the 1988 Lockerbie bombing until it offered more money for victims of a 1989 attack on a French airliner.

On Friday, in a deal painstakingly negotiated with Britain and the United States, Libya accepted responsibility for the Pan Am bombing and agreed to pay $2.7 billion in compensation to the families of each of the 270 persons killed in the attack.

That prompted a drive by Paris to renegotiate with Tripoli its $33 million settlement for 170 victims of the September 1989 downing of a jet from the now-defunct UTA French airline over Niger.

FRANCE

Health official quits over heat-wave deaths

PARIS — A senior French health official resigned yesterday after the health minister acknowledged that as many as 5,000 people might have died in a heat wave.

Lucien Abenhaim, director-general of health, said he was leaving his post because of the criticism leveled at the government about its handling of the heat wave earlier this month.

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