- The Washington Times - Friday, February 21, 2003

Al Qaeda-linked group has assets frozen
LONDON Britain and the United States ordered banks yesterday to freeze the assets of a Kurdish Islamic guerrilla group operating in northern Iraq.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has accused the group, Ansar al-Islam, of harboring al Qaeda fugitives from Afghanistan.
Ansar al-Islam operates in territory outside the control of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, but Mr. Powell told the U.N. Security Council that Saddam has an agent in the group's top leadership.
Meanwhile, an attorney for Ansar al-Islam's leader, Mullah Krekar, said he would seek political asylum in the Netherlands, which arrested him Sept. 12 and deported him to Norway last month.

Moroccan appeals 9/11 plot conviction
BERLIN Attorneys for the Moroccan student convicted by a German court of aiding the September 11 hijackers filed an appeal yesterday, saying the judges' reasoning was unsound and a potential key witness had not been heard.
In the first trial of a purported conspirator, Mounir El Motassadeq, 28, was convicted Wednesday of being an accessory to the killing of 3,066 persons and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The prosecution's case hinged on El Motassadeq's close friendship with key plotters based in Hamburg, his financial transfers for one of the suicide pilots and his training at an al Qaeda camp.

British man fatally shot; Saudi suspect held
RIYADH A British man, an employee of the British aviation and aerospace company BAE Systems, was fatally shot yesterday waiting for a traffic light to change, and a Saudi citizen was arrested, the Interior Ministry said.
BAE said the victim was Robert Denith, 37. Saudi security officials identified the suspect as Saud bin Ali bin Nasser, 30.
Another British employee of BAE was shot at in Riyadh on Feb. 7 by three men following his car. A 35-year-old British banker was killed by a car bomb in Riyadh on June 20.

3 Palestinians killed in West Bank dragnet
JERUSALEM Israeli troops killed three Palestinians during a West Bank dragnet yesterday and locked down the Gaza Strip in an operation against the militant Islamic group Hamas.
The tough military measures coincided with a London call by envoys from the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union the "Quartet" of negotiators for an immediate, comprehensive cease-fire by Israelis and Palestinians.
Israeli soldiers conducting a massive manhunt fatally shot a 17-year-old Palestinian and his grandfather as they walked home from a nearby mosque in the West Bank city of Nablus. Soldiers also killed a 24-year-old Palestinian in the town of Tulkarm.

Panel says Erdogan can run for parliament
ISTANBUL Turkey's election board ruled yesterday that Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of Turkey's governing Justice and Development Party, can run in a March parliamentary by-election, a decision likely to make him prime minister.
The board ruled there were no legal grounds to deny his candidacy and threw out a petition by a small leftist party asking that he be barred, the Anatolia news agency reported.

President lacks majority, faces runoff
YEREVAN Armenian President Robert Kocharian failed to win the necessary 50 percent of votes for re-election yesterday, forcing a runoff in balloting that the opposition complained was rigged.
Mr. Kocharian won 48.3 percent of the vote Wednesday, according to revised figures given by the commission last night.

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