- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 19, 2004


Bomb defused near 2 premiers’ parley

ROME — A bomb was defused overnight near the Sardinian holiday villa of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi hours after a visit by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Italian police said yesterday.

A local anarchist group issued a warning and took responsibility for planting the bomb, which police described as a low-impact, homemade device.

Security was stepped up around the prime minister’s villa, but Mr. Berlusconi’s office said his holiday schedule was not changed.


Al Qaeda threats tied to Iraq role

SAN SALVADOR — Salvadoran authorities are working with the FBI and other international organizations to investigate al Qaeda threats against El Salvador for its support of the U.S.-led mission in Iraq, police said.

Army troops and police have reinforced security at the country’s international airport and along its borders, the deputy police director, Commissioner Pedro Gonzalez, told local reporters yesterday.

The threats, which were published on the Internet, apparently are in response to President Tony Saca’s decision to send a third contingent of peacekeeping troops to help the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, officials said.


Prison inmate battle near capital kills 31

SAN SALVADOR — Rival groups of inmates battled with guns, grenades and machetes at a prison in El Salvador yesterday, killing at least 31 prisoners.

Officials said the bloodshed at the notoriously violent and crowded La Esperanza prison on the outskirts of the capital, San Salvador, began when members of the Mara 18 street gang clashed with other inmates.

“There were fights between them and they threw about six grenades,” said Bonifacio de Leon, who heads the state prosecutor’s office in the area.

El Salvador’s security ministry said there were also 29 injured.


Madrid bomb suspect arrested in police raid

AMSTERDAM — Dutch police yesterday arrested a man they suspect may have been involved in the March 11 Madrid bombings, prosecutors said.

Police searched two homes in the southern town of Roosendaal near the Belgian border, after receiving information that one or several persons suspected of involvement in the attacks were in the Netherlands, prosecutors said in a statement.

Eight other persons were also detained with one held on drug-related charges. The other seven were turned over to immigration authorities.

Islamic militants acting in the name of al Qaeda are suspected of having carried out the attacks on four Madrid commuter trains that killed 191 persons on March 11.


Terrorist suspect dies in police hands

ISLAMABAD — An Islamic cleric arrested on suspicion of links with members of the al Qaeda network died in custody in Pakistan yesterday, officials said.

Pakistani security forces arrested cleric Qari Mohammad Noor along with three associates last week in a raid on an Islamic school, or madrassa, in the central city of Faisalabad.

Mr. Noor was arrested as part of a crackdown since the arrest in Pakistan last month of an al Qaeda computer expert, Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan.

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