- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 16, 2009

PAKISTAN

Al Qaeda No. 2 calls for holy war

CAIRO | Al Qaeda’s deputy leader called on Pakistanis to join his group’s holy war against the United States in Pakistan and Afghanistan and warned that they could face the destruction of both countries and provoke God’s wrath if they don’t.

Ayman al-Zawahri’s audio message, which was posted on the Internet on Tuesday, comes as the Pakistani military has stepped up its operations against militants along the border with Afghanistan, including in South Waziristan where some suspect al-Zawahri and Osama bin Laden could be hiding.

The military offensive has received widespread support from Pakistanis who once viewed al Qaeda and Taliban militants as little threat to the country, but have grown increasingly alarmed as attacks have killed hundreds of Pakistani civilians.

Al-Zawahri’s message was likely aimed at undercutting that support by casting the offensive as a U.S. plot to control the country. He delivered the message in English, which is much more widely spoken in Pakistan than Arabic. He used the same tactic in a message to the Pakistani people in August.

WEST BANK

Palestinians suspend Al Jazeera

RAMALLAH | The Palestinian government shut down the West Bank operations of the Arabic satellite channel Al Jazeera on Wednesday, a day after a guest on the station accused the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of involvement in Yasser Arafat’s death.

For the feisty news station - the Arab world’s most popular - the closure represents the latest clash with a Middle Eastern government. Israel often criticizes it, Iraq has expelled it and Saudi Arabia only let it resume work recently after a long ban.

The closure came the day after talk-show guest Farouk Kaddoumi, a high-ranking Palestinian official and longtime rival, claimed Mr. Abbas played a role in the 2004 death of Mr. Arafat, the former president and revered founder of the Palestinian national movement.

SPAIN

Oldest new mother dies, leaving twins

MADRID | A Spanish woman who deceived a U.S. fertility clinic about her age and became the oldest woman to give birth has died at 69, leaving behind 2-year-old twins, newspapers reported Wednesday.

Maria del Carmen Bousada gave birth in December 2006 after telling a clinic in Los Angeles that she was 55, the facility’s maximum age for single women receiving in-vitro fertilization. Guinness World Records said the 66-year-old was the oldest on record to give birth and the case ignited fierce debate over how much responsibility fertility clinics have over their patients.

INDIA

Court orders arrest of police in killings

SRINAGAR | A court in Indian-run Kashmir ordered the arrest of four police officers Wednesday for purportedly destroying evidence in the rape and murder of two women that triggered violent protests last month.

Chief Justice Barin Ghosh of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court also ordered DNA samples from the four men to be matched with the semen found on the bodies of the two women - a 17-year-old girl and her 22-year-old sister-in-law.

The women’s bodies were found in a shallow stream in Shopian, a town 35 miles south of Srinagar, the main city of Indian-controlled Kashmir, on May 30.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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