- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 23, 2004

LEBANON

Plot to hit embassy foiled; 10 held

BEIRUT — Lebanon said yesterday that it has foiled a plan by al Qaeda-linked terrorists to blow up Italy’s embassy in Beirut, other diplomatic missions and Lebanese government targets.

Interior Minister Elias al-Murr said Lebanese and Syrian security forces, acting on a tip that Rome sent Friday, arrested 10 persons in the plot, which he said involved simultaneous attacks on the targets.

The attacks were to include a suicide car bombing of the Italian Embassy in downtown Beirut, as well as strikes on the Ukrainian Consulate and several Lebanese court and security buildings, he said.

Lebanese officials identified two ringleaders among the suspects: Ahmad Miqati, a Lebanese member of an Islamist group that staged a bloody uprising in northern Lebanon in 2000, and Ismail Khatib, who is described as an operative of al Qaeda.

FRANCE

Radicals probed in Iraq fighting

PARIS — Prosecutors have opened an investigation into suspicions that French Islamic radicals have gone to Iraq to fight alongside militants there, judicial officials said yesterday.

Anti-terrorist magistrates Jean-Francois Ricard and Jean-Louis Bruguiere will lead the investigation.

Officials suspect that small numbers of French radicals — perhaps no more than a dozen — have sought to travel to Iraq.

AFGHANISTAN

U.S. soldier killed; Taliban officer freed

KABUL — An attack on a patrol killed an American soldier, the third U.S. fatality this week in Afghanistan, the military said yesterday, amid a flurry of attacks that wounded more than a dozen Americans in the run-up to the Oct. 9 presidential election.

The soldier died in an attack on a security patrol on Monday in Khost province, a military spokesman said.

HAITI

Death toll in floods tops 1,070

GONAIVES — The death toll from floods in Haiti has risen to more than 1,070 and could reach 2,000, Dieufort Deslorges of the government’s civil-protection agency said yesterday.

Rescuers counted 1,013 bodies recovered from floodwaters, mud and collapsed homes in Gonaives alone by last night, the official said of Haiti’s third-largest city.

An additional 58 bodies have been recovered elsewhere in Haiti’s northwest province, Mr. Deslorges said.

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