- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 8, 2006

SUDAN

Holdout factions join Darfur accord

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Breakaway factions from two rebel groups that rejected last month’s peace accord for Sudan’s violence-riven Darfur region signed declarations yesterday committing themselves to the pact.

The main faction of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement signed the May 5 accord with Sudan’s government, but a splinter group held out until yesterday, as did a faction of the Justice and Equality Movement.

“We shall be bound by the letter and spirit of the [Darfur peace accord] and shall assume and implement the relevant obligations … especially those related to the comprehensive cease-fire agreement,” the groups said in their declaration.

GAZA STRIP

Israeli strike kills top militant

GAZA CITY — An Israeli air strike yesterday killed the top Hamas enforcer in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian hospital officials and group members said.

Israel has accused militant faction leader Jamal Abu Samhadana of spearheading rocket attacks on the Jewish state and of fatally bombing a U.S. convoy in the Gaza Strip in 2003. The 43-year-old had been No. 2 on Israel’s wanted list.

SWITZERLAND

Seven held in plot to hit Israeli plane

ZURICH — Swiss authorities said yesterday that they had arrested seven persons of North African origin suspected of plotting to attack an Israeli El Al airliner.

The Swiss attorney general’s office, which did not give details of the plot, said the suspects had been in contact with other groups in France and Spain.

El Al operates flights between Tel Aviv and the Swiss cities of Zurich and Geneva.

Israel’s Yediot Ahronot newspaper reported last month that Swiss and French intelligence agents had foiled a plot to shoot down an El Al plane over Geneva in December using a rocket-propelled grenade.

BRITAIN

Military exercises with Ukraine put off

LONDON — Ukraine and Britain have postponed joint military exercises scheduled for next week, British officials said yesterday, after a political stalemate that has halted the work of the Kiev parliament.

The exercises, which have sparked small but noisy protests by pro-Russian groups in Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula, can go ahead under the post-Soviet constitution only if parliament approves the presence of foreign troops.

SOUTH KOREA

North confirms missing man is alive

SEOUL — North Korea confirmed yesterday that a missing South Korean man purportedly kidnapped decades ago is living in the North and said it would allow him to meet with his South Korean mother this month.

Kim Young-nam disappeared from a beach on South Korea’s southwest coast in 1978 when he was 16. His family thought he had drowned but learned from the South Korean government that he was thought to have been abducted by North Korean agents and forced to live there.

UNITED NATIONS

Bahraini woman to lead assembly

NEW YORK — The General Assembly yesterday elected a champion of women’s rights in Islamic courts as its next president, making Haya Rashed Al Khalifa of Bahrain the third female to lead the 191-nation U.N. body.

Mrs. Al Khalifa, chosen without a recorded vote, takes up the presidency at the opening of the assembly’s 61st session on Sept. 12. She succeeds Jan Eliasson, the Swedish foreign minister.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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