- The Washington Times - Friday, August 11, 2006

COSTA RICA

Top rebel fighter from Colombia caught

SAN JOSE — A man accused of participating in a 2002 rebel attack that killed more than 100 civilians in one of the worst tragedies in Colombia’s four-decade-old guerrilla war was captured yesterday, authorities said.

Hector Orlando Martinez Quinto, 38, a suspected member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, is also accused of masterminding exchanges of arms for drugs in Central America for the rebel group.

Martinez, who was detained in the Pacific coast city of Cocal de Puntarenas, first came to Costa Rica in 1997 and later obtained legal residency after marrying a Costa Rican woman. He was accused of taking part in the 2002 mortar attack on a church in the Colombian town of Bojaya that killed 119 civilians who were seeking shelter there.

RUSSIA

Putin orders checks after art thefts

MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin yesterday ordered a government inventory of all of Russia’s museums following the theft of $5 million in artwork from the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

Mr. Putin told Cabinet officials to set up a commission by Sept. 1 to conduct the inventory of the cultural treasures, the president’s office said.

Mr. Putin’s order follows the theft of 221 precious items, including jewelry, religious icons, silverware and richly enameled objects from the Hermitage. Officials Tuesday revealed yet another theft — the disappearance of a famous late architect’s drawings, worth millions of dollars, from a Russian state archive.

GAZA STRIP

July deaths highest since ‘04, report says

GAZA CITY — Last month was the deadliest in the Gaza Strip for nearly two years, a Palestinian research group said yesterday, as Israel’s six-week offensive against militants in the territory led to a surge in killings.

The Palestinian Monitoring Group said 151 persons were killed in the coastal strip during July, the highest total since October 2004, when 166 persons died. Of those killed, the majority were civilians, the group said in a report.

Israel launched an offensive in Gaza in late June to try to secure the release of an Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian militants in a raid and to stop homemade rockets being fired into Israel by militants from northern Gaza.

EGYPT

Mubarak says U.S. losing credibility

CAIRO — Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said the United States and the West were losing credibility in the Middle East because they were dragging their feet on a cease-fire in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas.

In an interview with the Egyptian magazine October, released yesterday, Mr. Mubarak also said it would be impossible to implement quickly a U.N. resolution which requires Hezbollah to disarm.

He dismissed Washington’s talk of “a new Middle East,” saying it ignored what he called the real problem — the collapse of attempts at peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

NETHERLANDS

Rwandan immigrant held for war crimes

THE HAGUE — A Rwandan immigrant accused of ordering the killing of Tutsis dragged out of an ambulance during the 1994 genocide has been arrested and charged with war crimes and torture, a prosecution spokeswoman said yesterday.

Prosecutors identified the man only as 38-year-old Joseph M. and said he was a brother of another man, identified as Obed R., who has been convicted of genocide by an international tribunal for Rwanda and sentenced to 25 years.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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