- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 23, 2004

ISRAEL

Officer charged in death of girl

JERUSALEM — Military prosecutors have issued a five-count indictment against an Israeli officer who comrades say repeatedly shot a wounded 13-year-old Palestinian girl to make sure she was dead, a military spokeswoman said yesterday.

Israeli soldiers fired at the girl, Iyman Hams, as she approached a military observation post near the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 5. The soldiers said they thought she was planting a bomb. The girl’s family said she had been on her way to school when she was shot.

Soldiers from the unit later told Israeli press that the officer walked up to the girl after she was hit and riddled her bleeding body with a burst of automatic fire in an outlawed practice known as “verifying the kill.”

CHINA

EU hints at lifting weapons ban

BRUSSELS — The European Union hinted yesterday it might be ready soon to lift an arms embargo on China, in place since the crushing of a pro-democracy movement in 1989, but sought progress on Beijing’s human rights record.

France, one of the European Union’s biggest arms exporters, is leading calls to lift the ban, which could open lucrative trade opportunities with the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

But the issue has proved divisive within the European Union, and the United States has lobbied publicly and privately against lifting the ban, citing Chinese threats to Taiwan.

PAKISTAN

Bhutto’s husband released on bail

KARACHI — After eight years in jail on corruption charges, the husband of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was released on bail yesterday, officials said, in a move the government called a step toward “political harmony” with her opposition party.

The Supreme Court yesterday granted bail to Asif Ali Zardari, who has been accused in a slew of cases charging corruption during his wife’s two governments in the 1990s.

RWANDA

Former army officer pleads not guilty

ARUSHA, Tanzania — A former senior Rwandan army officer pleaded not guilty yesterday before a U.N. tribunal to six counts of genocide and crimes against humanity for his purported role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

The prosecution said Col. Ephrem Setako committed the crimes in concert with several former senior Rwandan officers, including Col. Theoneste Bagosora, who is thought to have been a central figure in the killing of more than 500,000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus during the genocide.

TURKEY

Militants met with bin Laden

ISTANBUL — A Turkish al Qaeda militant told a court yesterday that he met with Osama bin Laden and a top aide, who proposed an attack in Turkey, but denied any involvement in last year’s suicide bombings in Istanbul, which killed 60 persons.

Baki Yigit told an Istanbul court that he and the suspected mastermind of the suicide bombings, Habib Akdas, met with bin Laden and his aide, Abu Hafs al-Masri, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, before the September 11 attacks on the United States.

INDIA

Militant forces cut in clampdown

NEW DELHI — A clampdown by Pakistan and a new offensive by Indian forces have cut nearly in half the number of separatist militants operating in violence-torn Kashmir, Indian military and intelligence officials said yesterday.

For years, security officials said, the number of militants operating in Kashmir has fluctuated between 3,000 and 3,500, with any casualties reinforced by new infiltrations from across the Line of Control, the disputed cease-fire line that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

It is not clear, however, whether the sudden drop in the number of militants will lead to any long-term decrease in violence in Kashmir. Rebel attacks have continued.

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