- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 11, 2007

AFGHANISTAN

Motorbike used by suicide bomber

KANDAHAR — A suicide bomber on a motorbike blew himself up in a crowded square in southern Afghanistan just before evening prayers yesterday, and preliminary reports said almost 30 people were killed, officials said.

The explosion — one of the deadliest since the fall of the Taliban — went off in the town of Gereshk in Helmand province, the world’s largest poppy-growing region and site of the country’s worst violence this year.

Gereshk district Chief Abdul Manaf Khan said it was likely that 28 persons were killed, estimating 13 police and about 15 civilians. Dr. Tahir Khan said 23 people were killed and 59 wounded.

ISRAEL

Palestinian rocket hits army base

JERUSALEM — A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck a tent filled with sleeping soldiers in a southern Israeli army base, wounding more than 25 of them early today, Israeli medics and the army said.

The army said the soldiers were all recent recruits in basic training at an army base in southern Israel less than a mile north of the Gaza Strip.

Islamic Jihad, a small radical militant group, took responsibility for the attack.

PORTUGAL

Blood test uncertain for missing girl

PORTMAO — It is not certain that traces of blood found in a car rented by Kate and Gerry McCann match that of their missing daughter Madeleine, the director of the Portuguese judicial police said as they prepared to report to prosecutors yesterday.

“None of the results of the analyses allows one to say with certainty that the blood comes from X or Y,” Alipio Ribeiro said on Portuguese public television station RTP.

The blood traces were found in a car rented by Kate and Gerry McCann 25 days after their daughter, then 3 years old, disappeared from the family’s holiday apartment in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz on May 3.

LEBANON

Terrorist leader escapes army raid

BEIRUT — The leader of the al Qaeda-inspired Fatah Islam group fled a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon a day before it fell into the hands of the Lebanese army earlier this month, a government official said yesterday.

Prosecutor General Saeed Mirza also said that a DNA test on a body suspected to be that of militant leader Shaker al-Absi proved it was not him.

The finding contradicted earlier reports by al-Absi’s wife, who had identified the body as her husband’s.

SUDAN

Peacekeeping leader confident of success

KHARTOUM — A large and complex peacekeeping operation planned for Darfur will begin on time and could, within months, improve security in the war-torn region of western Sudan, the mission’s head said.

Rodolphe Adada, chief of the United Nations and African Union joint mission to Darfur, said contributing nations have committed more than the 26,000 required troops for the force. He expects the peacekeepers to be deployed in October.

The joint mission will take over from an African Union force of 7,000 currently in Darfur, and Mr. Adada said he expected to begin operating with about 10,000 troops, including the African contingents already in place.

PAKISTAN

Militants renege on troop release

DERA ISMAIL KHAN — Militants went back on a deal to free more than 260 abducted Pakistani troops yesterday after an army raid on their hide-out near the Afghan border left three rebels dead, a tribal elder said.

Local authorities and tribal elders had said the soldiers — who were kidnapped Aug. 30 in South Waziristan — would be freed yesterday after talks with the militants.

However, the militants changed their minds after the army raided their hide-out in the region.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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