Israel criticizes pope over terror sermon
Pope Benedict XVI faced the first major conflict of his three-month-old papacy when Israel summoned the Vatican envoy yesterday to express outrage that the pope “deliberately failed” to condemn terrorist attacks against Israelis.
The German-born Benedict, who has reached out to Jews consistently since assuming the papacy, was criticized by Israel for remarks Sunday from his Alpine vacation retreat in northwestern Italy.
He prayed for God to stop the “murderous hand” of terrorists and referred to the recent “abhorrent terrorist attacks” in Egypt, Britain, Turkey and Iraq, but did not mention attacks in Israel.
U.S., Afghan soldiers killed by militants
KABUL — Militants attacked a patrol of U.S. and Afghan troops in the country’s south yesterday, setting off a gunbattle that killed one American soldier, one Afghan soldier and 11 of the rebels, the U.S. military said.
The U.S. military also said six American troops were wounded Sunday in a bombing elsewhere in the country.
In yesterday’s deadly assault in a small village in Uruzgan province’s Dihrawud district, three American soldiers and an Afghan soldier were wounded, the military said.
U.S. fighters and attack helicopters responded to the assault and pounded militant positions, the military said. Eight insurgents were captured, and rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles were seized.
Rumsfeld: Base loss won’t hurt mission
BISHKEK — The U.S. military could sustain its operations in Afghanistan even if it lost access to a key air base in neighboring Uzbekistan, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday at the outset of a three-day tour of the region.
The Uzbek government has raised doubt about U.S. access to Karshi-Khanabad air base, which has been used as a staging point for operations in Afghanistan since 2001.
Opposition movesto impeach Arroyo
MANILA — Opposition lawmakers in the Philippine Congress filed impeachment proceedings yesterday against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, accusing her of rigging last year’s vote by speaking with an election official before a final tally was announced.
In her annual state of the nation address hours later, Mrs. Arroyo made no direct reference to the charges, but she urged Congress to change the constitution to shift to a parliamentary form of government.
Court issues warrant for 6 more CIA agents
ROME — An Italian court yesterday issued arrest warrants for six more purported CIA operatives, accusing them of helping plan the 2003 kidnapping of a radical Egyptian Muslim cleric, a court official said.
Last month, a judge issued warrants for 13 purported CIA officials but turned down a request for the additional six. Prosecutor Armando Spataro appealed the ruling last week, accusing the six of helping prepare the abduction of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr.From wire dispatches and staff reports