- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 11, 2009


Car bomb kills 30 in southern town

BAGHDAD | A car bomb was detonated Wednesday in a packed outdoor food market in one of the most peaceful areas of Iraq’s Shi’ite south, killing about 30 people and wounding dozens more.

Angry townspeople swarmed around police in the wake of the attack, cursing and blaming them for failing to prevent the bombing. The explosion occurred during the morning shopping period in Bathaa, a small Euphrates River town near Nasiriyah about 200 miles southeast of Baghdad.

Also Wednesday, the Iraqi government said five U.S. contractors detained during an investigation into the slaying of another American will be freed after a week in Iraqi custody because of insufficient evidence against them. U.S.-backed Iraqi forces detained the contractors June 3 in connection with an investigation into the stabbing death of contractor Jim Kitterman of Houston.


Reformists accused of revolution

TEHRAN | A senior Revolutionary Guard accused President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s pro-reform opponents Wednesday of waging a “velvet revolution” in Iran, at the climax of a bitter presidential election campaign.

The comments were a further escalation in a war of words after Mr. Ahmadinejad, facing a strong challenge from former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, accused his rivals of using Hitler-style smear tactics and said they could face jail.

“The presence of supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi on the streets are part of the velvet revolution,” said Yadollah Javani, head of the Guards’ political office, using a term used to describe the 1989 nonviolent revolution in Czechoslovakia.

Mr. Mousavi’s supporters, dressed in his green campaign color, have taken to the streets of Tehran for nightly rallies, waving flags and banners and shouting anti-Ahmadinejad slogans. There have been sporadic clashes in the capital but the campaign for Friday’s election has been largely peaceful.


U.S. kills militant linked to Iran

KABUL | The U.S. military Wednesday said an air strike in western Afghanistan killed a militant commander with reported links to Iran’s elite military Quds Force.

The air strike Tuesday in the western province of Ghor targeted a warlord named Mullah Mustafa, who the U.S. military said was responsible for attacks on a nearby highway. The military said 16 of Mustafa’s men were also killed.

The U.S. said Mustafa commanded about 100 fighters and “reportedly had connections to” the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force, which is known to train Shi’ite militants from Middle Eastern countries.


Gadhafi makes first visit

ROME | Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi made his first visit Wednesday to Libya’s former colonial ruler, wearing a provocative reminder of Italy’s 30-year occupation pinned to his military uniform: a black-and-white photo of a Libyan national hero killed by Italian authorities.

But Col. Gadhafi still received a warm embrace from Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and the four-day visit was designed to highlight the close political and economic ties between Tripoli and Rome, strengthened by a $5 billion agreement last year by which Italy will compensate Libya for colonial rule.


Subway strike cripples Londoners

LONDON | Millions of Londoners faced a grim commute Wednesday, taking boats, buses and bicycles or walking in the rain as a strike by subway workers crippled the city’s subway system.

It was the most disruptive strike on the Underground system since September 2007, when a walkout also shut down most of the capital’s Tube.


Woman junks $1 million mattress

JERUSALEM | An Israeli woman mistakenly threw out a mattress she said had almost $1 million inside, setting off a frantic search through tons of garbage at a number of landfill sites Wednesday.

The woman told the Associated Press that she bought her elderly mother a new mattress as a surprise present Monday - and threw out the old one. The next day, she said, she remembered that she had hidden her life savings inside the old mattress.

She went to look for the mattress, but it had already been hauled away by garbage collectors, she said. Searches at three different landfill sites turned up nothing.

She said the money was in U.S. dollars and Israeli shekels. She refused to say how she acquired such a large sum.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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