- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Refugee camp bars orchestra leader

NABLUS | The head of a Palestinian youth orchestra who created an uproar by performing a concert for Holocaust survivors in Israel was blocked Tuesday from entering a West Bank refugee camp because of concerns for her safety, a local official said.

Security official Radi Asiba said the life of the orchestra conductor, Wafa Younis, would have been at risk if she remained in the area of the Jenin refugee camp.

Ms. Younis, an Arab woman from Israel, led a small orchestra for Palestinian youths in the hardscrabble camp. But she fell out of favor with residents after taking the orchestra to play for the Holocaust survivors last week.

When Ms. Younis tried to enter the camp Tuesday, she was halted by a prominent local leader. On Sunday, camp officials boarded up Ms. Younis’ rehearsal studio and confiscated the orchestra’s instruments.

Many Palestinians are reluctant to acknowledge Jewish historical suffering because of concerns that it weakens their own claims to victimhood and to the land. Parents said they were not told their children would perform for the Holocaust survivors.

Ms. Younis was not available for comment Tuesday, but earlier said she only meant to spread good will through the concert. She established the Strings of Freedom orchestra about three years ago in the Jenin refugee camp.


Ex-Chechen rebel found dead in Dubai

DUBAI | Dubai’s police chief confirmed Tuesday that a former Chechen rebel who switched sides in Chechnya’s long-running conflict with Moscow was killed in a brazen attack in this emirate.

Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim said Sulim Yamadayev, who was in Dubai on a Russian passport issued in the name of Sulaiman Madov, was killed Saturday. He dismissed assertions in Russian media that the Chechen had survived an “assassination.”

Mr. Yamadayev fought with Russian military in last year’s war with Georgia but refused to follow orders of Chechnya’s Kremlin-backed president.


Turk arrested in relics case

CAIRO | Customs officials on Tuesday arrested a Turkish man at Cairo’s airport after they found ancient Coptic Christian relics in his luggage, an airport official said.

The 72-year-old is suspected of trying to smuggle three Coptic bibles, two illustrated papyrus scrolls and fabrics dating to the sixth century.

The man reportedly said he had bought the relics at Cairo’s Khan el-Khalili bazaar for $150.

Egypt’s Copts were among the first Christians and built the world’s oldest extant monasteries. The Coptic era ended with the Muslim conquest of Egypt in the seventh century.


Dutch couple kidnapped in capital

SAN’A | Armed Yemeni tribesmen kidnapped a Dutch couple Tuesday in the capital of the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country, the San’a mayor’s office said.

After being kidnapped, the two were taken to a mountainous region about 40 miles east of San’a, Mayor Noman Dowaid’s office said. The Dutch Embassy in Yemen confirmed the kidnapping.

Yemen is the ancestral homeland of Osama bin Laden, and al Qaeda loyalists are active in the country.

Yemeni tribes have previously seized foreigners - either tourists or those living or working in the country - to pressure the Yemeni government to meet their demands, mainly to free clan members from jail. In most cases, the kidnappings are resolved and the hostages freed.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide