- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 24, 2009

PAKISTAN

Suspected U.S. raid kills 40

PESHAWAR | Suspected U.S. missiles hammered the South Waziristan tribal region Tuesday, striking a purported Taliban training center and then a funeral procession for some of those killed in the earlier attack. Up to 40 people were killed - including Sangeen Khan, a top aide to Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud - and 60 more were wounded, two intelligence officials said.

The attacks came on the same day an armed guard killed Qari Zainuddin, the top Taliban rival of Mehsud, underscoring a growing rift in the ranks of the militant group as it braces for an impending army assault in the volatile northwest.

Aides said a guard walked into Zainuddin’s office after morning prayers and opened fire at about 7 a.m., hitting him in the head and chest, and then fled in a waiting car. Baz Mohammad, a Zainuddin aide who was wounded, accused Mehsud of ordering the assassination.

Zainuddin, who broke with Mehsud in 2007, was estimated to have about 3,000 armed followers in the towns of Dera Ismail Khan and nearby Tank. He had recently criticized Mehsud for using suicide bombings to target civilians and, more importantly in his view, clerics inside mosques.

MAURITANIA

American killed in capital

NOUAKCHOTT | Gunmen attempting to kidnap an American man in Mauritania on Tuesday shot and killed him when he tried to resist, a police officer in the West African nation said.

Neighbors said the middle-aged man taught at a center specializing in computer science in El Kasr, a lower-class neighborhood in Nouakchott, the Mauritanian capital.

Two men initially tried to abduct him, but they shot him when they realized they could not overpower him, the police officer said. The U.S. Embassy in Nouakchott could not immediately be reached for comment. The victim’s identity was not immediately released.

SOUTH KOREA

Woman taken off life support

SEOUL | Doctors removed a life-supporting respirator from a comatose woman at the center of a landmark right-to-die case Tuesday as her family and two judges looked on.

The 76-year-old patient, identified only by her surname, Kim, was still breathing several hours later, hospital officials said. She will continue to be fed fluids and nutritional supplements because a court order authorized only the removal of the respirator, hospital chief Park Chang-il said.

Ms. Kim has been in a vegetative state since suffering brain damage in February 2008. Her family sued to force doctors to take her off the respirator, saying she opposed keeping people alive with machines when there was no chance of revival.

The Supreme Court, upholding lower court rulings, granted the request last month. The verdict - the first of its kind in South Korea - heralded a profound shift in the country’s attitudes toward death.

FRANCE

Parliament creates panel on burqa

PARIS | The French parliament created a commission Tuesday to study the wearing of body-covering burqas and niqabs in France, a day after President Nicolas Sarkozy said the Islamic garments turn women into prisoners.

The 32-member commission, with members from France’s four major political parties, will hold hearings that could lead to legislation banning burqas from being worn in public.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

France has Western Europe’s largest Muslim population, estimated at 5 million.

INDIA

22 more Pakistanis accused in attacks

MUMBAI | An Indian court issued arrest warrants Tuesday for 22 Pakistani nationals accused of masterminding last year’s deadly Mumbai terrorist attacks, including the founder of an Islamist militant group recently freed by a Pakistani court.

An Indian prosecutor demanded that Islamabad extradite all the suspects, though Pakistan has vowed that it will not transfer any Mumbai suspects to longtime rival India, saying instead it will try them in its own courts.

The warrants were issued in response to a prosecutor’s motion in the ongoing trial of Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the only surviving suspected gunman in last year’s attacks that left some 166 dead in a three-day siege.

Among those sought for arrest were Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, founder of the Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba - which India blames for launching the attacks - and Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah, two leaders of the group.

Pakistan arrested all three in December after Indian diplomats provided a dossier of evidence. However, a court in Lahore earlier this month freed Saeed, saying there was no evidence against him.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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