- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 2, 2007


9 dead in suicide blast; bombs kill 3 soldiers

BAGHDAD — A suicide car bomber struck in the main Shi’ite district of the capital yesterday, killing at least nine persons as the U.S. military said its troop buildup in Baghdad was nearly complete. Three more U.S. soldiers were killed by bombs in the capital.

At least 85 Iraqis were killed or found dead nationwide, police reported. They also included eight persons who lost their lives when a roadside bomb destroyed their minibus about 20 miles south of Baghdad.

The suicide attack occurred at dusk near a police station in Sadr City, the Baghdad stronghold of the Mahdi Army militia.


Tehran arrests ex-nuke negotiator

TEHRAN — A former Iranian nuclear negotiator was arrested on an unspecified security charge, the state news agency reported yesterday, as the country’s hard-line president said Iran would not retreat “even an iota” from its pursuit of nuclear technology.

Citing an “unofficial informed source,” Islamic Republic News Agency said that Hossein Mousavian was arrested Monday in Tehran. He was a member of the Iranian nuclear negotiator team until 2005 and served as Iran’s ambassador to Germany in late 1990s and early 2000s.

Mr. Mousavian was known as a close ally of influential former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was defeated by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2005 elections.


Karzai hits casualties from U.S.-led strikes

KABUL — Afghans can no longer accept or understand civilian deaths from international military operations, President Hamid Karzai said yesterday after officials said 51 villagers were killed during a U.S.-led offensive against the Taliban in western Afghanistan.

Despite claims that women and children were among the dead, the U.S. military maintained that it had no reports of civilian casualties. But rising public anger was evident as students staged a fourth day of anti-American protests in an eastern city over civilian deaths.

Mr. Karzai met with NATO, U.S. and European Union officials to complain about the civilian casualty in the operations.


Comic’s pope jokes called terrorism

ROME — The Vatican’s official newspaper accused an Italian comedian yesterday of “terrorism” for criticizing the pope and warned his rhetoric could fuel a return to 1970s-style political violence.

In an unusually strongly worded editorial, L’Osservatore Romano said a presenter of a televised May Day rock concert, which is sponsored by Italy’s labor unions, had made “vile attacks” on Pope Benedict XVI.

“This, too, is terrorism. It’s terrorism to launch attacks on the Church,” it said.

At the concert, Andrea Rivera, spoke out against the pontiff’s stand on a number of issues. “The pope says he doesn’t believe in evolution. I agree, in fact the Church has never evolved,” he said.


Protests continue against Estonia

MOSCOW — Young Russians staged raucous protests in Moscow yesterday to denounce neighboring Estonia for removing a Soviet war memorial from its capital, and the Estonian ambassador said pro-Kremlin activists tried to attack her as she arrived at a press conference.

The protests were the most disorderly in Russia since Estonian authorities took the bronze statue of a Red Army soldier from a downtown square Friday. The monument, which commemorates the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, was put in an Estonian military cemetery this week.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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