- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 8, 2003

EGYPT

Bin Laden deputy says attacks helped Islam

CAIRO An e-mail purportedly written by an al Qaeda chief, and posted on a Web site yesterday, says Americans should be killed and that the September 11 attacks helped the cause of Islam.

The 150-word message purportedly from Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's top deputy was posted on the Islamic-affairs site of Montasser el-Zayat, a lawyer who spent time in prison with Al-Zawahiri.

In Washington, U.S. intelligence officials said it was plausible that the message was from Al-Zawahiri but that they could not be certain.

Al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian, is bin Laden's doctor and spiritual adviser.

He and bin Laden recently issued audio statements that convinced U.S. officials that both men are alive and at large.


AFGHANISTAN

Pilgrim flights diverted after hijack scare

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates A warplane from the U.S.-led coalition forced an Afghan airliner carrying Muslim pilgrims to land in the United Arab Emirates yesterday, but suspicions that it had been hijacked proved false, the Afghan government said.

Another plane, also operated by Ariana Afghan Airlines carrying pilgrims to the annual hajj in Saudi Arabia, also was forced to land at an air base in the United Arab Emirates later, but a search for explosives or arms turned up nothing, an official said. Both planes were allowed to continue to Saudi Arabia.


CONGO

26 sentenced to death for Kabila murder

KINSHASA A military court in the Democratic Republic of Congo sentenced 26 persons to death yesterday for involvement in the assassination of President Laurent Kabila two years ago.

Mr. Kabila was shot and killed by a bodyguard in his presidential palace in January 2001 and was replaced soon afterward as head of Africa's third-biggest nation by his son, Joseph. The bodyguard was fatally shot.

Among those sentenced to death was Col. Eddy Kapend, Mr. Kabila's cousin and closest personal aide.

About 40 other defendants, including the 20-year-old wife of the assassin, who gave birth to a baby while awaiting trial, were acquitted.

About 50 were given prison sentences ranging from six months to life.


COLOMBIA

8 killed as rebels bomb police convoy

BOGOTA Colombia's largest rebel army, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, attacked a police convoy outside the nation's capital around dawn yesterday, killing eight officers and injuring five, police said.

A police spokesman said guerrillas from the 17,000-member, Marxist-inspired FARC activated a powerful bomb as the convoy drove along a lonely mountain road about 50 miles west of Bogota.

The blast killed five officers, and rebels opened fire to kill three more.


LIBERIA

U.S. cuts operations amid row with Taylor

MONROVIA The U.S. Embassy suspended part of its operations in Liberia yesterday, saying President Charles Taylor's call for demonstrations against U.S. policy made security too uncertain.

The embassy said that it had stopped issuing U.S. visas to Liberians, although services to Americans in the West African country continued.

The move comes amid a dispute between Mr. Taylor's administration and U.S. Ambassador John William Blaney over the leader's plans for presidential elections next year that effectively bar opposition candidates in exile.

Liberia was founded by freed American slaves.

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