Third teenager held in killing of boy, 11
LIVERPOOL — Police arrested a third teenager yesterday in the shooting of an 11-year-old boy, whose death confronted a shocked Britain with the problem of youth violence and gang culture.
Rhys Jones was kicking a soccer ball around with friends Wednesday night when he was hit in the back of his neck by a bullet — reportedly fired by one of two youths riding by on a BMX bicycle.
Two youths, ages 14 and 18, were detained by police Thursday on suspicion of murder, and released on bail within hours. Police said a 16-year-old was arrested yesterday.
Bomb in Basque city injures 2 police
MADRID — A van packed with explosives blew up yesterday outside a police station in the Basque country, shattering windows, destroying cars and injuring two officers in the first serious attack by separatists since they called off cease-fire in June.
Authorities blamed the Basque separatist group ETA for the pre-dawn blast that targeted a Civil Guard station in Durango, about 25 miles south of Bilbao, the region’s main city. Residents of nearby apartment buildings dashed outside in the rain, some still in their pajamas.
Russia denies plane was shot down
TBILISI — Georgian forces fired on a Russian plane flying over Georgian territory earlier this week, a government official said yesterday, claiming residents nearby reported an explosion and a fire afterward. Russia immediately denied the claim.
The dispute came amid heated disagreement between the ex-Soviet neighbors over Georgian accusations of airspace violations by Russian military aircraft.
An Interior Ministry spokesman said the plane took fire over Upper Abkhazia on Wednesday. Russia’s Defense Ministry said no Russian military planes were flying in the area at the time, RIA-Novosti news agency reported.
Gul fails to win a second vote
ANKARA — Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul failed to win the Turkish presidency in a second round of voting in parliament yesterday, but is expected to clinch the post next week and end months of political tension.
Mr. Gul, a highly respected diplomat who helped secure European Union accession talks for Turkey, is distrusted by the military and secular elite because he served as a minister in an Islamist party that was chased from power in 1997.
Yesterday’s vote was the second of up to four rounds. Mr. Gul is expected to be elected in the third session Tuesday when he no longer needs two-thirds of the votes but a simple majority — which the ruling Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party can nuster.
Security Council extends U.N. force
NEW YORK — The Security Council yesterday extended by a year the mandate of the U.N. force that has kept an uneasy peace in southern Lebanon since Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas fought there last year.
The force, known as UNIFIL, has been in Lebanon since 1978 but was greatly expanded after the conflict last July. It currently has 11,500 troops and a 2,000-strong naval force representing more than 30 nations.
Wildfires spread, killing 16
ATHENS — At least 16 persons died and thousands of acres of forest were consumed in fires racing through Greece’s Peloponnese Peninsula yesterday as southeast Europe experienced a resurgence of summer blazes.
Six bodies were found near the town of Areopolis, 120 miles southwest of Athens. Ten more were found dead near Zakharo, on the west coast of the peninsula, at least six of them in cars.
Hamas clamps down on Fatah protesters
GAZA CITY — Hamas security agents clashed with supporters of the rival Fatah movement yesterday, firing into the air and beating journalists who were covering a demonstration against the Islamist militant group’s rule in the Gaza Strip.
It was the second time in recent weeks that Hamas scuffled with Fatah protesters, a signal of possible cracks in the Islamist group’s two-month-old takeover of Gaza.
Paramilitary boss faces extradition
BOGOTA — A powerful paramilitary boss faces a long prison sentence and possible extradition to the United States because he broke a partial amnesty deal by continuing to run a drug-smuggling ring from jail, authorities said yesterday.
Carlos Jimenez is the first jailed warlord to lose benefits conceded under a 2003 peace accord that led paramilitary leaders to surrender and demobilize 31,000 of their men in exchange for reduced prison terms and protection from extradition.
From staff reports and wire dispatches