- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 24, 2008


Missiles hit Green Zone

BAGHDAD — Extremists fired an explosive barrage yesterday into the capital’s heavily protected Green Zone, targeting the heart of America’s diplomatic and military mission in Iraq.

The U.S. military said there were no injuries from the early morning volley. The earth-jarring detonations, nearly 10 of them, even shook buildings across the Tigris River from the capital’s fortified core, which houses the U.S. Embassy, military facilities and the Iraqi government.

The strikes were the most recent involving what a U.S. military spokesman described as indirect fire — the military’s term for a rocket or mortar attack.


Serbs blame U.S. for violence

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA — Serbia’s hard-line leaders yesterday called the U.S. “the main culprit” in the violence that has broken out since Kosovo declared independence.

Several thousand Serbs chanting “Kosovo is Serbia” and “Russia, Vladimir Putin” protested peacefully in the ethnically divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica, the sixth day of demonstrations against Kosovo’s break with Serbia.

On Thursday night, protesters in the Serbian capital Belgrade set fire to the U.S. Embassy, angered by Washington’s recognition of Kosovo.

“The United States is the main culprit … for all those violent acts,” Serbia’s Minister for Kosovo Slobodan Samardzic said. An aide to hard-line Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said any future violence also will be blamed on the U.S.


57 men arrested for flirting

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia began yesterday to interrogate 57 men who were arrested after they were accused of flirting with women in front of a shopping mall in the holy city of Mecca, a local newspaper reported.

The country’s religious police arrested the men Thursday night, claiming behavior that included dancing to pop music blaring from their cars and wearing improper clothing, according to the Okaz newspaper.

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice runs the religious police, who are charged with enforcing Saudi Arabia’s strict Islamic lifestyle.


Man jailed for faking prince on Facebook

PARIS — A 26-year-old engineer has been sentenced to three years in prison for creating a fake profile of the younger brother of Moroccan King Mohammed VI on the popular Internet networking site Facebook.

A court in Casablanca on Friday convicted Fouad Mourtada of “usurping the identity of HRH Prince Moulay Rachid” and faking computer documents, the official MAP news agency reported. He was also fined $1,300.

The case has spurred an online campaign of his supporters, who have appealed in writing to the prince for clemency.


Hamas preacher’s death fuels tension

RAMALLAH — The family of a Hamas preacher who died in Palestinian custody claimed yesterday that the prisoner was tortured by interrogators from the rival Fatah faction.

Authorities confirmed the death Friday of Majed Barghouti, 44, at an intelligence lockup in the West Bank town of Ramallah, a week after his arrest. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah forces control the prison, ordered an investigation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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