- The Washington Times - Friday, January 17, 2003

COLOMBIA

5 killed, 32 hurt in Medellin bombing

BOGOTA At least five persons, including a 4-year-old boy, were killed and 32 were injured when a car bomb exploded outside a state prosecutor's office in the city of Medellin yesterday in an attack blamed on leftist rebels, police said.

It was the fifth car bomb to explode in less than 10 days in Colombia, which is in the grip of a four-decade guerrilla war that has killed thousands of people each year.

A regional prosecutor accused Marxist FARC rebels of planting the car bomb in retaliation for army and police raids on a guerrilla-infiltrated neighborhood in Medellin on Monday, in which at least 53 suspected rebels were arrested.

The bomb is a fresh challenge for hard-line President Alvaro Uribe, a former Medellin mayor who has vowed to defeat the FARC if it does not call a cease-fire and start peace talks.


PAKISTAN

Islamic schools raided in search for al Qaeda

ISLAMABAD Pakistani authorities accompanied by English-speaking foreigners raided at least three Islamic schools in the capital looking for al Qaeda and Taliban suspects, school officials said yesterday.

Several religious leaders filed a complaint with the Islamabad police demanding charges of unlawful interference in Pakistani religious schools be brought against the foreigners, who they said were American FBI agents.

None of the students or teachers were detained, but several student registers were taken, an administrator said.


ISRAEL

Germany leases anti-missile systems

JERUSALEM Germany yesterday leased a pair of Patriot anti-missile batteries to Israel as the Jewish state stepped up military preparations for a likely U.S.-led war against Iraq.

The two-year lease was approved by Germany in response to an Israeli request made in November, the German Defense Ministry said. Germany has a large surplus of U.S.-made Patriots missiles.


BRITAIN

BBC, Al Jazeera to exchange news

LONDON The British Broadcasting Corp. has signed a deal to exchange news with pan-Arab satellite news station Al Jazeera. The deal entitles the stations to use each other's footage and share facilities.

The broadcasters also are discussing plans for the BBC to provide Al Jazeera with documentaries and advice on training and safety, as well as advice on an English-language Web site the Qatar-based station plans to bring online next month.

Founded in 1996, Al Jazeera has gained fame and some criticism for airing statements by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Its exclusive reports from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan after the attacks also raised its profile.


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