- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 9, 2006


Retrial opens in tainted blood case

TRIPOLI — A retrial is to start here tomorow of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor held in jail since 1999 on charges of having injected at least 426 Libyan children at a local hospital with AIDS-contaminated blood. Fifty-one of the children have died.

Since death sentences against the defendants were quashed last Christmas, relations between Libya and Bulgaria have been strained by the publication in Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, of cartoons of Libyan leader Moamar Gadhafi. The accused pleaded innocent before Libya’s supreme court, which ordered a retrial because of “procedural flaws.”

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on a visit to Bulgaria last month, said the nurses had spent “too long in captivity” and voiced hope they would soon be freed. In seeking an accord, Sofia and Tripoli have set up a fund to help fight AIDS in Libya.


Police kill leader of Sinai terrorists

EL-ARISH — Police yesterday killed Nasser Khamis el-Mallahi, the leader of Monotheism and Jihad, an Egyptian militant group inspired by al Qaeda and blamed for terrorist attacks last month that killed 21 persons in a Sinai beach resort.

El-Mallahi was shot dead and an accomplice was captured in a battle with police at an olive grove, said Lt. Gen. Essam el-Sheik, commander of the North Sinai security police. “This is a major blow to the terrorist group,” the police general said.

The Interior Ministry congratulated the police in a statement that described el-Mallahi as “the mastermind and leader of the group that carried out the Dahab and el-Gorah explosions” — three bombs that exploded April 24 in the resort of Dahab.


Party founders innocent, lawyer says

KUWAIT CITY — Defense attorney for the Islamist founders of Kuwait’s first political party urged a court yesterday to drop all charges against his clients because they had committed no crime.

The 15 founders of the Ummah (Nation) Party, which they began in January 2005, were taken to court by the government on charges of violating press and public-gatherings laws, for which they could face six months in jail.

“I told the court that the public-gatherings law was revoked by the Constitutional Court last week and thus cannot be used against them,” Nasser al-Duwailah told Agence France-Presse.

Weekly notes …

European intelligence services have warned Morocco that terrorists are planning attacks on political, business and tourist targets in the north African country, the newspaper Al Ahdath Al Maghribia said yesterday. Its sources said the groups, not named by the paper, are plotting bomb attacks and assassinations. Simultaneous bomb attacks in Casablanca, Morocco’s commercial capital, left 45 persons dead in May 2003. … Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, visiting London yesterday, asked Britain to press Israel to withdraw its troops from the occupied Shebaa Farms. Israel seized the small, mountainous territory between Lebanon, Syria and Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, and it is now claimed by Beirut with the backing of Damascus. Lebanon has been in political turmoil since the February 2005 slaying of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri and the later withdrawal of Syrian troops after 29 years on Lebanese soil.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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