- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 8, 2004

ITALY

Al Qaeda-linked group threatens attacks

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A militant group claiming links to al Qaeda yesterday said its cells in Italy were ready to strike if the country did not withdraw troops from Iraq before an Aug. 15 deadline it set a week ago.

“The truce we had offered you … to withdraw your troops has almost ended. Our cells in Rome and in all other Italian cities are prepared and ready to carry out their mission,” said a statement signed by Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades — al Qaeda Organization.

Another group saying it had ties to al Qaeda and calling itself Abu Bakr al-Seddiq Brigades threatened to attack Denmark and El Salvador if they did not pull out of Iraq.

SPAIN

Basque group claims 2 bombings

MADRID — The armed Basque separatist group ETA claimed responsibility for two small bombs that exploded in the northern tourist towns of San Vicente de la Barquera and Ribadesella yesterday, authorities said. No injuries were reported.

The attacks were the first claimed by ETA since September. Authorities briefly suspected the separatist group of involvement in the Madrid railway bombings in March before blaming Islamic extremists.

SOUTH AFRICA

Zulu leader loses second child to AIDS

JOHANNESBURG — South African politician Mangosuthu Buthelezi said yesterday AIDS had killed his daughter, his second child to die from the disease this year, and slammed the government’s handling of the pandemic.

Zulu Chief Buthelezi, head of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), is one of the few high-profile figures to talk candidly about the disease that affects 10 percent of the population.

Chief Buthelezi’s son died of AIDS complications in April at the age of 53.

BAHRAIN

King’s kin tortured at Gitmo, group says

MANAMA — A Bahraini rights group said yesterday it had received reports a member of the country’s royal family had been tortured at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

It is the second report of abuse of a Bahraini national at the U.S. naval base where hundreds of people seized during the 2002 U.S.-led war in Afghanistan are held.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights said an Arab recently freed from the base had said Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, a distant relative of Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, had been tortured.

IRAN

Missile-test aid to N. Korea denied

TEHRAN — Iran yesterday dismissed accusations it was providing test sites for North Korean long-range missiles designed to deliver nuclear warheads.

A Bush administration official claimed earlier that North Korea was getting around a self-imposed missile test ban by sharing technology information with Iran, which is purportedly carrying out missile tests on Pyongyang’s behalf.

Jane’s Defense Weekly, a military publication, reported recently that North Korea was developing two new ballistic missile systems that have “appreciably expanded the ballistic-missile threat.”

Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said Iran is developing its Shahab-3 missile to counter Israel’s missile power. Tehran concluded tests of the missile last year.

AFGHANISTAN

2 election officials killed in ambush

KANDAHAR — Gunmen ambushed a convoy carrying election workers to a remote Taliban stronghold, killing two of them, officials said yesterday, bringing to a dozen the number of people slain so far while preparing for the landmark presidential vote.

At least 30 militants shot at the jeeps from the joint Afghan-U.N. electoral body Friday as they passed through Char Cheno, a district of central Uruzgan province, Gov. Jan Mohammed Khan said.


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