- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 22, 2007


3 Moroccans held, tied to terror cell

ROME — Italian police yesterday arrested three Moroccans — an imam and two aides — accusing them of belonging to a militant cell that purportedly used a mosque in central Italy as a terror training camp.

The cell held courses on hand-to-hand combat and used propaganda films and documents downloaded from the Internet to teach students how to prepare poisons and explosives, pilot a Boeing 747 and send encrypted messages, anti-terrorism police in Rome said.

The mosque on the outskirts of Perugia, the Umbrian capital, also offered weapons training as well as instructions on how to ambush and how to reach combat zones safely.


President announces air-safety steps

SAO PAULO — President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva yesterday announced wide-ranging safety measures prompted by the country’s deadliest air disaster, but hours later a radar failure over the Amazon forced Brazil to turn back or ground a string of international flights.

In a nationally televised speech Friday night, Mr. Lula da Silva said authorities will build a new airport in Sao Paulo, where an Airbus A320 operated by Tam Airlines crashed Tuesday, killing 191 persons. He said aviation officials will limit the number of flights and restrict the weight of planes traveling into Congonhas airport.


Abbas forces free Hamas official

NABLUS — Palestinian forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas released a top Hamas official yesterday after holding him in custody for 19 days, sources from Hamas and the security forces said.

Ahmed Doleh, assistant to the Interior minister in the Hamas-led government Mr. Abbas dismissed last month, spent several days on a hunger strike since his arrest in the West Bank city of Nablus.

Mr. Abbas’ forces released five other Hamas officials and a politician they were holding in Nablus earlier this week, but 15 others from the Islamist group remained in custody.


IAEA help rejected at nuclear plant

TOKYO — Japan turned down an offer of help from the U.N. nuclear watchdog following last week’s quake that damaged the world’s biggest nuclear power plant, press reports said yesterday.

Authorities closed down the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant indefinitely after Monday’s 6.8 magnitude quake in northwestern Japan caused radiation leaks there.

The quake also killed 10 persons and flattened hundreds of houses.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, offered to send in inspectors, urging Japan to share lessons from the incident. But Kyodo News agency reported sources as saying Japanese nuclear safety authorities would work by themselves to deal with problems at the plant for the time being.


North Korea No. 2 signs trade deals

ULAN BATOR — Secretive North Korea signed deals with resource-rich Mongolia on Friday, local press said, in the first visit by a high-ranking North Korean official to Ulan Bator since 1988.

Kim Yong-nam, North Korea’s No. 2 leader, arrived in Mongolia on Friday for a four-day visit and met Mongolian President Nambariin Enkhbayar, according to the daily Oenoodor, or Today.

The two countries signed three protocols on cooperating in the fields of health and science, trade and sea transport and the exchange of labor. Mr. Enkhbayar also offered Ulan Bator as a venue for meetings on the North Korean nuclear issue.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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