- The Washington Times - Friday, February 3, 2006


Security crackdown nets dozens

BAGHDAD — Iraqi police and soldiers rounded up nearly 60 people yesterday in security crackdowns in Baghdad and the southern city of Basra, and the U.S. military reported the death of an American soldier in a bombing.

At least 22 persons were detained and weapons were seized in raids launched before dawn yesterday, the Iraqi army said.

An additional 37 persons — including five Palestinians and a Syrian — were arrested in pre-dawn raids in Baghdad’s Dora district, the Interior Ministry said.

The U.S. command said an American soldier was killed the previous evening in a roadside bombing north of the capital.


66 die in stampede outside stadium

MANILA — A stampede broke out early today outside a stadium near Manila where thousands had lined up to watch a popular game show, and at least 66 persons were trampled to death, an official said.

About 30,000 people were waiting to get inside the stadium to watch the show when the chaos erupted, said Vicente Eusebio, the mayor of Pasig, the Manila suburb where the stampede occurred. He said at least 66 persons died — all but three of them were women.

Dozens of injured people were rushed to hospitals, which quickly became overwhelmed and began using parking lots to accommodate them, Radio DZBB reported.


Plot to assassinate president foiled

TBILISI — A plot to assassinate Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili by shooting down his helicopter has been foiled, Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili said yesterday.

He said a portable Igla anti-aircraft missile and its launcher had been discovered in the Shida Kartli area, close to the border with the breakaway region of South Ossetia and near a regular flight path of Mr. Saakashvili’s helicopter.


Israel strikes back at Hezbollah

BEIRUT — Hezbollah guerrillas attacked an Israeli military position in a disputed part of the south Lebanon border yesterday, provoking swift Israeli air strikes on suspected Hezbollah sites, Lebanese security officials said.

Hezbollah said its bombardment of rockets and shells was in retaliation for the killing by Israel this week of a Lebanese teen who went missing around the disputed border area of Chebaa Farms on Wednesday. Hezbollah added that it had attacked the same Israeli position that fired the shots that killed the youth.


Settlements cost billions, study finds

JERUSALEM — More than $14 billion has been spent on Israel’s West Bank settlements during the past four decades, according to a study released yesterday, one of the most comprehensive attempts to assess the total expenditures for the communities.

An exact figure for how much money has been spent on the settlements since Israel captured the West Bank in 1967 has been nearly impossible to obtain, since spending for them is spread throughout numerous areas of the budget and not identified as specific funding for the communities.


16 Taliban, 3 police killed in clash

KANDAHAR — Fierce exchanges involving U.S. warplanes and Afghan troops in southern Afghanistan left at least 16 suspected Taliban rebels and three police dead, an official said yesterday.

Amir Mohammed Akhund, deputy governor of southern Helmand province, said more than 250 Afghan police and army troops were hunting dozens of militants in Sangin district, and U.S. planes had bombed the area.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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