- The Washington Times - Friday, June 25, 2004


Two Marines killed, one hurt in attack

KABUL — Two U.S. Marines were killed and another wounded in an attack in eastern Afghanistan, where troops are hunting Taliban and al Qaeda fighters, the U.S. military said yesterday.

The deaths brought to at least 92 the number of American troops killed in or around Afghanistan since the start of the campaign that ousted the Taliban in late 2001, and came as insurgents intensify attacks ahead of national elections.

The clash occurred late Thursday in Kunar, a province on the border with Pakistan, a military spokesman said.

U.S. travelers given time to leave Cuba

The U.S. government will give air charter companies and travelers more time to adjust to stringent new rules curtailing visits to Cuba, a top State Department official said.

Rules implemented June 16 oblige thousands of Cuban Americans visiting relatives on the island to return before June 30 or face fines of up to $55,000. After that date, U.S. residents and citizens will be allowed to visit Cuba once every three years instead of annually.

Air operators say Cuban airports are too small to handle thousands of visitors aiming to return before June 30. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Dan Fisk, the top U.S. diplomat for Cuba, said travelers will be given some time to arrange their return.


Tanker truck crashes into buses; 71 killed

TEHRAN — A gasoline tanker truck slammed into a row of packed buses, setting off fiery explosions that killed at least 71 persons and injured 108 in southeastern Iran, officials said yesterday.

Many of the victims were burned alive because firefighting equipment had to arrive from Zahedan, about 70 miles away, said Heidar Ali Nouraei, the city’s governor.

The buses, along with a truck containing tar, were parked at a police station on the main highway between Zahedan and Bam, nearly 700 miles southeast of Tehran, when the accident occurred late Thursday night.


Congo, Rwanda agree on border monitors

ABUJA — The leaders of Congo and Rwanda agreed yesterday to send monitors to their border region to calm fears of new fighting after Kinshasa sent 10,000 troops there to tackle rebels it says were backed by Rwanda.

After four hours of talks in Nigeria, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his Congolese counterpart Joseph Kabila also reaffirmed their commitment to a 2002 peace deal which led to an end to the five-year Congo war.

Mr. Kabila sent the government force after accusing Rwanda of backing renegade troops who briefly seized the eastern town of Bukavu in early June.


46 anti-U.S. rebels killed in siege

SAN’A — Yemen said 46 followers of an anti-U.S. Muslim extremist cleric had been killed and 35 wounded in clashes with security forces in a siege in a mountainous area of the Arab country.

Helicopters, supporting armed forces, opened fire on various sites in the area during the siege, security sources said.

An Interior Ministry statement, carried by the official Saba news agency late Thursday, said 43 “rebel” supporters of cleric Hussein al-Houthi also had been arrested since clashes began last Sunday when police tried to arrest Sheik al-Houthi, a Shi’ite Muslim leader. Saba said six more men were arrested yesterday.

Security and military forces were still surrounding Sheik al-Houthi and a “small number of deviant elements,” the ministry said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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