- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 11, 2006

LEBANON

Hariri probe reports progress

BEIRUT — A U.N.-backed investigator yesterday reported “considerable progress” in his probe of the assassination of a former Lebanese prime minister and said most of his work could be wrapped up in several months.

The second report from Belgian prosecutor Serge Brammertz’s investigators said Syria — which had earlier been accused of obstructing the probe into Rafik Hariri’s death — has cooperated in a “generally satisfactory” manner. And the team sought an extension for up to one year to finish its work.

Some senior-level Syrian officials have been implicated in the Feb. 14, 2005, bombing that killed Mr. Hariri and 22 others. Mr. Brammertz is expected to brief the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday — a day before his commission’s mandate expires.

SPAIN

Thousands protest Basque peace talks

MADRID — Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards rallied in Madrid yesterday to protest planned peace talks between the government and Basque separatists ETA and demanded the guerrillas lay down their arms.

Draped in Spanish flags and carrying photos of their dead, families of ETA victims joined opposition politicians to attack Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s plan to end 38 years of guerrilla violence.

Survivors of Madrid’s 2004 commuter train bombings joined the anti-government protest and called on Mr. Zapatero to probe deeper into the attacks that killed 191 persons.

BRITAIN

Police criticized for London raid

LONDON — Muslim groups and the Metropolitan Police Authority, which oversees policing, have accused British police of making a series of errors in a dramatic counterterrorism raid in London last week, when they shot one of two men arrested.

Police freed Abul Koyair, 20, and Mohammed Abdul Kahar, 23, without charges Friday and have admitted they did not find the bomb that they said was the focus of the dawn raid on the house in East London.

Murad Qureshi, one of the police authority’s 23 members, said British police had to learn from “a series of mistakes” they made in the June 2 raid, in which more than 250 officers took part.

Muslim campaigners plan to stage a demonstration today outside Scotland Yard, the Metropolitan Police London headquarters, to voice their anger at what they called “rising Islamophobia.”

PAKISTAN

20 killed in attack on militant hide-out

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani security forces attacked a militant hide-out near the Afghan border yesterday, killing up to 20 persons, an army spokes-man said.

Pakistan is trying to clear its rugged, semiautonomous border lands of militants, many of whom fled there after U.S. and Afghan opposition forces ousted Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers in late 2001.

The compound, attacked with artillery and helicopters, was near Dattakhel village, in the North Waziristan region on the Afghan border, the spokesman said.

NEW ZEALAND

Yemeni linked to 9/11 deported

WELLINGTON — A Yemeni who U.S. officials said once lived and trained with a terrorist pilot in the September 11 attacks was deported from New Zealand, the government said yesterday.

Rayed Mohammed Abdullah Ali was detained May 29 in the city of Palmerston North, where he was attending flight school, Immigration Minister David Cunliffe said. He was deported to Saudi Arabia the following day.

The U.S. congressional investigation into the September 11 attacks said a “Rayed Abdullah” had lived and trained with Saudi Arabian Hani Hanjour, who piloted the airliner that crashed into the Pentagon.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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