- - Tuesday, February 22, 2011

YEMEN

Army arrests al Qaeda leader

SANAA | A Yemeni regional governor said Tuesday the army had arrested an al Qaeda leader after a shootout with security forces that killed three soldiers and two civilians.

Marib province Gov. Naji bin Ali al-Zayedi said troops stopped a car Monday at a checkpoint and gunmen opened fire from the car when soldiers asked for identification.

A firefight ensued, killing three soldiers and two civilians. Nine others were injured.

Mr. al-Zayedi said the army arrested Mohammed Abdallah Maouda, an al Qaeda leader wanted by Yemeni security for his suspected role in attacking army posts and bombing oil facilities.

GEORGIA

Probe: Ex-president’s death likely ‘murder’

TBILISI | The mysterious death of Georgia’s first post-Soviet president was probably murder and not suicide as the authorities originally stated, an inquiry said Tuesday.

The investigation by a parliamentary commission into the demise of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, who was killed by a gunshot to the head on Dec. 31, 1993, after being ousted from office, called for new legal action to find out who was responsible.

“Based on materials we obtained and our conclusions, the theory that the president committed suicide has been practically ruled out,” the former leader’s son, Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, an opposition lawmaker who headed the commission, told Agence France-Presse.

“The commission inclines towards the theory that it was murder,” he said.

The report does not directly blame anyone for Mr. Gamsakhurdia’s death, although his supporters have often accused forces loyal to his successor as Georgia’s leader, former Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze.

AFGHANISTAN

Officials probe claim of civilians killed

KABUL | A government delegation met Tuesday with tribal elders from a remote district in northeastern Afghanistan to investigate their claims that NATO forces killed about 60 civilians during a four-day operation, a charge that has been contested by the international coalition.

The delegation was sent to the capital of Kunar province by President Hamid Karzai. Members of the delegation met with the provincial governor, a team of local officials and elders from the remote Ghazi Abad district, where the NATO operations took place.

On Sunday, the elders claimed that NATO forces killed 64 civilians in air and ground strikes.

The coalition, which also is investigating the allegation, has said video of operations on Feb. 17 - the main event of a more than three-day operation - showed troops targeting and killing dozens of insurgents, not civilians.

CROATIA

Prosecutors: No proof for war-crimes probe

ZAGREB | Croat prosecutors said Tuesday they found no evidence to charge an influential lawmaker with failing to prevent war crimes committed during the 1990s conflict, as claimed by Amnesty International.

The state attorney’s office in the eastern town of Osijek said in a statement it had “no basis to suspect that there is a criminal responsibility of Vladimir Seks” for war crimes against Serb civilians in Croatia in 1991.

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International had been urging Zagreb to investigate allegations over potential command responsibility for war crimes of some of the country’s high-profile political and military officials, including Mr. Seks, the deputy parliamentary speaker.

Justice officials in Osijek said they had questioned 13 people in a probe of Mr. Seks’ responsibility in relation to the crimes, but insisted the investigation of the case would continue.

Mr. Seks has denied any responsibility for war crimes, and the justice ministry in January rejected Amnesty’s objections.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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