- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 31, 2003


U.S. troops fire on taxi, wound three soldiers

KABUL — Jumpy U.S. soldiers fired on a taxi in Kabul yesterday and wounded three officers of Afghanistan’s fledgling national army, which U.S. forces have been helping to train.

The shooting happened on the same road and less than two months after a suicide bomber in a taxi killed himself and five others, four of them German peacekeeping soldiers.

The U.S. military said the taxi was “driving aggressively.” Roadside bombs had hit a coalition convoy southwest of Kabul earlier in the day.


5 terror suspects held in attack on troops

SAN’A — Yemeni security forces arrested five persons linked to al Qaeda who are suspected of involvement in an attack on a military convoy, an official said.

The detainees purportedly belong to the outlawed Aden-Abyan Islamic Army, a group formed by Arab and Yemeni fighters who fought to oust the Soviet Union from Afghanistan in 1989.


Official regrets embarrassing Brazil

PARIS — French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin told Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim yesterday he regretted any embarrassment caused by a secret French mission to the Amazon that sparked a diplomatic dispute.

France said it sent the military plane to the Brazilian Amazon in July to provide medical help after hearing that Ingrid Betancourt, a dual French-Colombian national kidnapped by leftist rebels 17 months ago as she campaigned for Colombia’s presidency, was to be freed.

Mrs. Betancourt was not freed and the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia denied it was intending to free her.


Red Square sealed off amid security fears

MOSCOW — Authorities have sealed off Moscow’s Red Square, its most famous landmark, at the height of the tourist season apparently out of fear of bomb attacks by Chechen rebels.

A sign taped to a barrier leading into the square, which runs along one side of the Kremlin, said: “Red Square is closed until September.”

Izvestia newspaper said the closure was related to fears of attacks after two bombings in the capital earlier this month.


Drug cell that used tunnels dismantled

MEXICO CITY — Mexico said yesterday it arrested four leaders of a major cocaine and marijuana smuggling cell, breaking up the network that used tunnels to sneak drugs across the border into the United States.

Attorney General Rafael Macedo said the four detained Tuesday were the most important smugglers in an up-and-coming drug gang.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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