- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 6, 2003

Algerians raised funds for terror, court told
LEICESTER Two Algerian men committed to Osama bin Laden's terrorist ideology created fake credit cards and used stolen bank account numbers to raise money for terrorism, prosecutors said at the start of their trial.
Baghdad Meziane and Brahim Benmerzouga also possessed propaganda identical to that of the al Qaeda network, advocating holy war against "the Americans, their Christian allies and the Jews," prosecutor Mark Ellison said during opening arguments in this central English city.
The two men were arrested two weeks after September 11, 2001. They both pleaded guilty to possessing fake passports. Benmerzouga also pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud using fake credit and bank cards, a charge Meziane denies.

Witness sees U.S. role in suspected plot
HARARE The star prosecution witness in the treason trial of Zimbabwe's main opposition leader said yesterday he suspected a man implicated in a purported plot to assassinate President Robert Mugabe was a U.S. agent.
Ari Ben-Menashe, a Canadian-based political consultant, told the High Court that a man named Edward Simms from a group dubbed "Team America" took part in a videotaped meeting with Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Long-range missile to be tested
BANGALORE India this year plans to test a long-range version of its nuclear-capable Agni missile that will be able to strike deep into China.
V.K. Aatre, scientific adviser to Defense Minister George Fernandes, speaking on the sidelines of an aerospace show in this city, said the Agni III missile will have a range of more than 1,875 miles.

Deputy prime minister to meet with pope
PARIS Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, one of Iraq's most prominent Christians, told a French newspaper yesterday he would travel to Rome in mid-February to meet Pope John Paul II.
Mr. Aziz told the Paris daily Le Monde that he had asked for an audience with the pope, who has firmly criticized plans for a U.S.-led attack on Iraq, and immediately got a positive response.
Mr. Aziz is a member of the Chaldean Catholic Church, an Eastern Rite church based mostly in Iraq, but in communion with Rome.

Death squads regarded as regime's hired hands
PARIS Death squads in Ivory Coast's main city, Abidjan, appear to be made up of people close to the government, the presidential guard and a militia from President Laurent Gbagbo's ethnic group, according to a U.N. report cited by French newspapers yesterday.
A wave of summary executions by unidentified men has sparked terror in the country's economic capital since a failed coup triggered civil war.

Tornado kills 164 in remote region
KINSHASA A tornado tore through remote villages in central Congo, killing 164 persons, destroying homes and ruining crops, the country's top health official said yesterday.
The 15-minute twister also injured 1,700 people more than 200 critically in Bandundu province on Sunday, Health Minister Mashako Mamba said.
Bandundu province is 150 miles northeast of the capital, Kinshasa.

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