- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 13, 2008

IRAQ

Iraqi soldier kills 2 U.S. troops

BAGHDAD | An Iraqi soldier Wednesday sprayed automatic weapons fire at U.S. soldiers at an Iraqi military base in Mosul, killing two and wounding six before he died in a hail of bullets, an American general said.

In Baghdad, bombers struck the capital for a third straight day, killing 23 people and wounding scores in a string of attacks in mostly Shi’ite areas.

Maj. Gen. Mark Hertling, commander of U.S. forces in northern Iraq, said the “premeditated” attack occurred in a courtyard as the soldiers waited for their two lieutenants to finish a meeting with an Iraqi army company commander. He said the attacker strolled into the courtyard carrying a Kalashnikov rifle and a drum of ammunition, walked to a corner, turned and opened fire. The Iraqi soldier was identified as Barzan al-Hadidi.

It was the second such shooting in Mosul in a year. Last December, an Iraqi soldier purportedly shot and killed a U.S. captain and a sergeant during a joint operation in Mosul.

Also in Mosul, two Christian sisters were killed and their mother was wounded in an attack on their home Wednesday, police said.

SOMALIA

Russian, British ships repel pirate attack

MOGADISHU | Russian and British forces repelled a pirate attack off Somalia in the first action by a Russian warship sent to bolster international forces fighting a plague of hijackings in coastal waters vital to global commerce, the two nations’ militaries said Wednesday.

Russian Navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo said the Russian missile frigate Neustrashimy and the British frigate Cumberland each sent up a helicopter and foiled pirates trying to take over a Danish cargo vessel.

Russia sent the Neustrashimy, or Intrepid, to protect Russian ships and crew off Somalia’s coast after a Ukrainian freighter with three Russians aboard was hijacked in September.

RUSSIA

Kremlin rejects missile defense

MOSCOW | The Kremlin has rejected a second set of U.S. proposals offered to assuage increasingly strident Russian criticism of plans for an American missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, news agencies reported Wednesday.

The Bush administration says the system would protect Europe against potential future attacks by Iranian long-range missiles. Moscow has angrily dismissed those assertions, saying the system could eliminate Russia’s nuclear deterrennce or spy on its military installations.

Last week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pledged to base short-range Iskander missiles in the Baltic Sea region of Kaliningrad on the border with Poland if the U.S. goes forward with its plans.

The Bush administration later sent Moscow a new set of proposals, including new suggestions about allowing Russian observers at the planned U.S. sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, according to John Rood, the U.S. acting undersecretary of state for arms control.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said over the weekend the latest U.S. proposals were insufficient.

AFGHANISTAN

Suicide attack kills 6 at office

KANDAHAR | A suicide bomber driving an oil tanker detonated his explosives outside an Afghan government office during a provincial council meeting Wednesday, killing at least six people and wounding 42, officials said.

The attack in this former Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan ripped through the council office, flattened five nearby homes and damaged the offices of the country’s intelligence service.

Ahmad Wali Karzai, the council chairman and a brother of President Hamid Karzai, who was in one of the offices, was unhurt.

SYRIA

Israel blamed for uranium traces

DAMASCUS | Syria’s foreign minister suggested Wednesday that Israeli bombs may be the source of uranium traces that diplomats at the U.N. nuclear agency said were found at a suspected nuclear site.

Walid al-Moallem said the diplomatic leaks about the traces found at the site, which was targeted by Israeli warplanes in September 2007, were politically motivated and aimed at pressuring Syria.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Tuesday his agency is taking allegations of a secret Syrian atomic program seriously and urged Damascus to cooperate fully with his investigation. He also urged other nations with information that could help the investigation to share what they know.

GAZA STRIP

4 militants dead in clash with troops

GAZA CITY | Israeli troops and Palestinian militants fired missiles and mortars at each other along the Gaza-Israel border on Wednesday, killing four Gaza gunmen and further chipping away at an eroding truce.

Israel has responded to the violence by clamping down on the seaside territory, home to 1.4 million Palestinians, and a U.N. aid agency warned Wednesday it would be forced to halt aid shipments this week if the closure is not eased.

The Israeli military and Palestinian militants gave conflicting versions of how Wednesday’s fighting started.

The military said clashes began after Israeli troops spotted militants trying to lay an explosive device near the Israel-Gaza border fence. Soldiers killed four militants, at one point entering Gaza in pursuit of gunmen, the military said. Palestinian militants said they fired mortars only after the Israeli forces crossed into Gaza.

INDIA

Medium-range missile tested

NEW DELHI | India successfully test-fired a medium-range, surface-to surface missile on Wednesday, the Defense Ministry said.

The new Shourya (Valor) missile has a range of 375 miles. A ministry official earlier said the weapon was a nuclear-capable K-15 missile, an undersea submarine-launched ballistic missile with a range of up to 435 miles.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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