- The Washington Times - Monday, October 4, 2004

FRANCE

ETA’s political leader held in French sweep

BORDEAUX — Police arrested the suspected political leader of the Basque guerrilla group ETA, detained 20 others, and seized explosives, grenades and other weapons in a series of raids yesterday, officials said.

Hailed by authorities as a major blow to the outlawed separatist group in France and Spain, police arrested Mikel Albisu Iriarte, alias “Mikel Antza,” who Spanish authorities say has been ETA’s political chief since 1993.

He was arrested with his partner, Soledad Iparraguirre, alias “Anboto,” in southwestern France. Accused of involvement in at least 14 murders, she is the highest-ranking woman in ETA, Spanish officials said.

PAKISTAN

New chief appointed for ISI spy agency

ISLAMABAD — President Pervez Musharraf yesterday appointed a new chief for Pakistan’s powerful spy agency after his predecessor was appointed chairman of the joint chiefs of military staff.

Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani was appointed director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency to replace Gen. Ahsanul Haq, the army announced. Gen. Haq was promoted on Saturday to the rank of four-star general and appointed chairman of the joint chiefs of military staff.

Before becoming head of the ISI, Gen. Kiyani was the top army general at army headquarters in Rawalpindi.

INDIA

New blasts hit northeast region

GAUHATI — Militants bombed utilities, a tea plantation and a crowded marketplace in northeastern India yesterday, intensifying violence that has killed 57 persons in two days in a region where dozens of ethnic rebel groups are fighting for separate homelands.

At least 17 bombings and shootings were carried out over the weekend in Nagaland and Assam states, including an explosion Saturday that ripped through a railway station full of commuters.

Nearly 40 groups have been fighting in the mountainous region of multiple ethnicities wedged between Bangladesh, Bhutan and Burma.

THAILAND

Bird flu claims 11th victim

BANGKOK — A 9-year-old girl has died of bird flu in northern Thailand, raising the country’s death toll from the virus to 11, a Health Ministry official said today.

Kanda Srilueng-On died overnight at a hospital in Phetchabun province only hours after tests confirmed she had the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, said Dr. Kamnuan Ungchoosak, chief of the ministry’s communicable disease control department.

The girl was hospitalized Thursday with flulike symptoms and was believed to have caught the disease from infected chickens. Her death brings the region’s human toll from the disease to 31, with 11 victims in Thailand and 20 in Vietnam.

IRAQ

Turks disband force after 7-year mission

IRBIL — A Turkish-led peacekeeping force stationed in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region was dissolved yesterday after a seven-year mission aimed at stabilizing the region.

The Peace Monitoring Force (PMF) was established by Turkey, the United States and Britain to monitor a cease-fire line after fighting between the two main Kurdish parties.

In a ceremony attended by British government officials and coalition commanders, Turkish and Iraqi members of the PMF were formally relieved of their duties.

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