- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 3, 2004

SAUDI ARABIA

Gunmen kill Irish citizen

RIYADH — Armed men fatally shot an Irishman yesterday after storming his office in the Saudi capital, the latest killing of a foreigner in the kingdom, a Saudi official said.

There was no claim of responsibility, but militants linked to the al Qaeda terror network have been blamed for a string of recent attacks on Westerners that killed another Irishman and three Americans in a campaign aimed at driving vital foreign workers out of the country.

At least two gunmen broke into the office of the Saudi-owned Rocky for Trade and Construction and began shooting. The dead man’s name was not given. Al Arabiya satellite television said he was a 63-year-old engineer.

PARAGUAY

Death toll in fire jumps to 464

ASUNCION — The death toll from a supermarket blaze soared by more than 100 to reach 464 yesterday, and a security guard told investigators that he was ordered to lock the building’s doors to prevent theft just after the fire began.

Dozens of families were still searching for lost loved ones as investigators questioned the store’s owners, manager and security guards over reports that doors were locked, trapping shoppers inside during the Sunday fire, the worst disaster in decades in this impoverished South American country.

The attorney general’s office put the death toll at 464, saying 325 bodies had been identified. Officials also said 409 persons remained hospitalized.

BANGLADESH

Massive food aid sought after floods

DHAKA — Bangladesh will need food aid for 20 million people — or one-seventh of its population — over the next five months because of massive flooding that has destroyed crops, an official said yesterday.

The worst monsoon rains and flooding in six years have covered 60 percent of this nation since June, destroying crops and jobs, said Food and Disaster Management Minister Chowdhury Kamal Ibne Yusouf.

The floods have claimed 1,580 lives across South Asia — 628 of them in Bangladesh.

THAILAND

Probe report faults storming of mosque

BANGKOK — Thai security officials were wrong to attack a mosque where armed militants had taken refuge, and used excessive force, a government-appointed commission reported yesterday.

The conclusion that security forces overreacted when they killed 32 Muslim militants with grenades and automatic rifle fire in the southern Pattani province had been acknowledged Saturday by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The commission’s report on the April 28 assault on the Krue-sae mosque was released at the weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday.

UZBEKISTAN

4th victim in attack on embassy dies

TASHKENT — A police officer guarding the U.S. Embassy in the Uzbek capital died yesterday from injuries suffered in suicide attacks last week, raising the number of victims killed to four, prosecutors said. Three attackers also died.

The near-simultaneous triple bombings Friday, which also struck the Israeli Embassy and the chief prosecutor’s office, wounded seven persons, though none critically.

A team of four FBI agents arrived in Uzbekistan to investigate the bombings, and a criminal case has been opened in the United States, as is standard procedure when an American interest overseas is attacked, a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman said.

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