- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 10, 2004

TURKEY

4 bombs explode in tourist areas

ISTANBUL — Two bombs exploded at hotels in tourist areas of Istanbul early today, killing one person and injuring seven others in an apparent terrorist attack, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported, citing police. The first two blasts were followed shortly thereafter by two more that injured no one.

The initial blasts happened almost simultaneously at around 2:00 a.m. in the city’s Laleli and Sultanahmet districts, where many tourists stay during their visits to Turkey’s main city, which has some 12 million inhabitants.

Istanbul police Chief Celalettin Cerrah said that “for the moment, everything is pointing to a terrorist attack.” The nationalities of the victims were not immediately known.

MAURITANIA

Military coup plot by Islamists foiled

NOUAKCHOTT — Mauritania’s pro-U.S. government broke up a plot by military officers and radical Islamists to seize power in this heavily Arab West African nation through a bombing and assassination campaign, officials with the military and the ruling party said yesterday.

The Saharan nation’s government gave no confirmation and it was impossible to verify the claims independently.

Ruling party officials blamed military officers, civilians and radical Islamists in the reported plot against President Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya’s government, which has allied itself with Washington in the war on terror.

Authorities arrested at least two military officers for planning a violent campaign that had the ultimate aim of wresting power from Mr. Taya.

SUDAN

Government to join Darfur peace talks

CAIRO — Sudan agreed yesterday to take part in peace talks to resolve the crisis in its Western Darfur region, where state-backed Arab militias are accused of killing thousands of African villagers.

The killings followed a revolt by Muslim blacks against the central government.

Sudan’s acceptance came a day after Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, in his capacity as African Union chairman, offered to host the talks on what has been called the world’s worst current humanitarian crisis.

Mr. Obasanjo invited the Sudanese government and rebel negotiators to meet in Nigeria starting Aug. 23, a spokesman for the African Union said.

“We welcome and will participate in the talks that were announced,” Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail told reporters yesterday.

AFGHANISTAN

European force assumes command

KABUL — Eurocorps took command of an expanding NATO peacekeeping force in the Afghan capital yesterday, exactly two months before the country’s first democratic presidential election.

Accepting the transfer of command of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from Canadian Lt. Gen. Rick Hillier, French Lt. Gen. Jean-Louis Py spoke of the challenge facing Eurocorps’ first mission outside Europe.

“I think there is a great deal of expectation for the European Union to be here within a NATO operation,” said Gen. Py, 55, who became Eurocorps’ commanding general last year.

TAIWAN

Missile threatfeared expanding

TAIPEI — China will have 800 missiles aimed at Taiwan by next year, said Annette Lu, vice president of the Republic of China (Taiwan). She was defending a statement that the island and its communist foe were in a state of “quasi-war.”

Mrs. Lu’s estimate would be a large increase from the 500 missiles that Taiwan says China already has set up in preparation for any military showdown to take back the island.

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