- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 19, 2009

PAKISTAN

Militant sought by India for jihad

ISLAMABAD | Pakistani police plan to arrest an Islamist militant leader accused by India of masterminding last year’s Mumbai attack, a move likely to help ease relations with New Delhi.

Police said Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, founder of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, would be arrested for propagating jihad.

India has been demanding action against Saeed and other Pakistan-based militants before it will resume a formal peace process, broken off by New Delhi after the Mumbai attack.

Police in the city of Faisalabad lodged two complaints against Saeed this week for delivering a speech to his supporters last month in which he urged jihad, or holy war, and appealed for funds for his Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity.

GUANTANAMO

Detainees make video calls home

GENEVA | Several detainees at the U.S. camp at Guantanamo Bay have made the first video-teleconference calls to their families, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Friday.

The humanitarian program, launched quietly Thursday, is available to all but the “high-value detainees” singled out by U.S. authorities, ICRC spokesman Simon Schorno said.

More than 60 detainees have registered to take part in the link, under discussion since April, as U.S. authorities allow them progressively more contact with their loved ones, he said.

GERMANY

Al Qaeda posts election threat

BERLIN | Al Qaeda has posted a new video threatening Germany, highlighting an increased threat level ahead of the Sept. 27 national elections and prompting authorities to step up security, the Interior Ministry said Friday.

The video, provided by the SITE Intelligence Group, showed a speaker warning that, if Germans do not push their political parties to withdraw the country’s soldiers from Afghanistan, “there will be a rude awakening after the elections.”

Germany’s ARD television and SITE, a U.S. firm that monitors militant message traffic, identified the speaker as Bekkay Harrach, a German of Moroccan background who uses the pseudonym Abu Talha. He has featured in previous videos over the past year threatening Germany.

SOMALIA

Missing cars fuel fear of attacks

NAIROBI, Kenya | Islamic insurgents on Friday vowed to launch more attacks after using stolen U.N. cars in an assault on an African Union peacekeeping base that killed 21 people. A Somali official said that six more U.N. vehicles were missing.

Thursday’s suicide car bombings were the deadliest single attack on AU peacekeepers since they arrived in the lawless African nation in 2007. The bombings also underscored links between al Qaeda’s terror network and Somalia’s homegrown insurgency.

Somali insurgent group al-Shabab said the attack was to avenge a U.S. commando raid on Monday that killed a key al Qaeda operative, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, in southern Somalia.

MYANMAR

Suu Kyi appeals her conviction

YANGON | Lawyers for detained Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi appealed the recent conviction that extended her years-long house arrest Friday, a day after the ruling junta announced it was releasing thousands of prisoners.

The Yangon Divisional Court said it would deliver its verdict Oct. 2, attorney Nyan Win said. The 64-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner was convicted Aug. 11 for breaking the terms of her house arrest when an American intruder stayed at her home. A three-year sentence was commuted to 18 months of house arrest.

Late Thursday, the junta announced that 7,114 convicts at prisons across the country would be released for good behavior and on humanitarian grounds. At least 25 political detainees were released Friday as part of the amnesty, just over 1 percent of the total number of political prisoners believed to be held by the military government.

IRAQ

Car bomb kills 7 in market

BAGHDAD | A car bomb exploded Friday at a market about 20 miles south of Baghdad, in a region that was once the scene of frequent attacks on Shi’ites, killing seven people and wounding 21 others, police and hospital officials said.

The bomb, inside a parked car, exploded in the town of Mahmoudiya, about a half-hour before the end of the day’s fasting for Ramadan when shoppers were in the market to buy last-minute supplies for the evening meal, or iftar.

CHINA

Parade dry run shuts Beijing

BEIJING | Police cleared streets and office buildings in parts of China’s capital Friday for a full dress rehearsal of celebrations for 60 years of communist rule, touching off a mixture of excitement and resentment among ordinary Chinese told to stay away.

Patrons and employees spilled into the streets from offices, shops and restaurants shortly after lunch, hustling to subways and buses to meet a curfew in all but name. Tactical police units with automatic rifles and paramilitary police lined thoroughfares as camouflaged tanks, trucks bearing intercontinental ballistic missiles and parade floats with models of the Great Hall of the People rumbled toward Tiananmen Square for the late-night practice for the Oct. 1 parade.

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