- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 9, 2004


Airport closed on opening day

TEHRAN — Iran’s armed forces closed Tehran’s new international airport on its first day of scheduled flights yesterday.

Security fears were cited in a statement carried on the official IRNA news agency, but that may have referred to a dispute involving the foreign consortium that built and was to have run the Imam Khomeini airport, 30 miles south of Tehran.

State airline Iran Air took over the new airport’s operation from a Turkish-Austrian consortium Tepe-Akfen-Vie (TAV) on Friday, 30 years after the project was conceived.


Mosque bombing ignites fighting

KARACHI — Rival Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims exchanged gunfire yesterday, killing at least one passerby, in sectarian clashes triggered by a suicide bombing at a mosque the day before.

Two others were wounded in the unrest, which occurred after Shi’ites mourning worshippers killed in Friday’s blast pelted a Sunni mosque with stones in Karachi’s Sohrab Goth district, police said.


American driver killed in antique-car rally

SIENA — A 77-year-old American driver was killed yesterday when his antique car crashed during an Italian road race, police said. Three other Americans and two Japanese were injured.

Race organizers identified the driver who died as Harlan Schwartz. They said his 33-year-old daughter broke her arm in the crash.

The Schwartzes were in a 1932 Alfa Romeo when it collided with a 1947 Cisitalia.


Moroccan arrested in train bombings

MADRID — Police have arrested a Moroccan in connection with the March 11 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 persons.

The Interior Ministry said yesterday the man was arrested Thursday night in Parla, a town just south of Madrid. His telephone number was found in the wreckage of an apartment where seven suspects blew themselves up on April 3.

Eighteen persons have been charged so far in the case. On Thursday, the FBI arrested an American lawyer, Brandon Mayfield, 37.


Opposition demands unity government

KATMANDU — Nepal’s opposition vowed yesterday to continue daily street protests to press King Gyanendra to set up a government of national unity after Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa announced his resignation Friday.

King Gyanendra, already battling to contain a deadly revolt by Maoist rebels, said he was ready for talks with the opposition and promised to appoint a replacement with a “clean image.”

But that did not satisfy the opposition. At least 10,000 people protested near the king’s palace yesterday, shouting “Long live democracy, down with absolute monarchy.”


Fighters given more time to surrender

WANA — Pakistan extended a deadline until tomorrow for foreign fighters and al Qaeda terrorists, holed up in the mountains bordering Afghanistan, to give themselves up and register with authorities. An earlier deadline passed Friday night.

Pakistani tribes in the mountains bordering Afghanistan are thought to be sheltering between 500 and 600 foreign fighters in the area they run outside central government control.

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