- - Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Turkey launches incursion into Iraq

ANKARA — Turkish soldiers, air force bombers and helicopter gunships launched an incursion into northern Iraq on Wednesday, hours after Kurdish rebels killed 24 soldiers and wounded 18 in attacks along the border.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan canceled a visit to Kazakhstan and held a nationally televised news conference to announce that Turkey had launched the “hot pursuit” operation, wording that officials often use to describe cross-border offensives in northern Iraq.

“We will never bow to any attack from inside or outside Turkey,” he said.

Turkey’s chief of the military and the interior and defense ministers rushed to the border area to oversee the anti-rebel attacks, and the United States and NATO both issued statements supporting the offensive, the largest in more than three years.

NTV television said Turkish troops have gone some 2 1/2 miles into Iraq and that helicopters were ferrying commandos across the border.

Dogan news agency said more than 20 Kurdish rebels were killed in ensuing clashes, but did not provide a breakdown.


Riot police clear illegal Traveler camp

CRAYS HILL, England — British police used sledgehammers, crowbars and a cherry picker Wednesday to clear the way for the eviction of Irish Travelers from a site where they have lived illegally for a decade.

By the afternoon, police said they were in control of the site and that bailiffs were beginning to move onto the disputed property.

Essex Police said two protesters were Tasered and seven people arrested after police officers were attacked with rocks, other missiles and liquids including urine.

Residents and supporters, however, said police had used excessive force.

Evictions of Travelers - a traditionally nomadic group similar to, but ethnically distinct from, Gypsy or Roma people - are relatively common across Britain. But few are as large, or as high-profile, as Wednesday’s at Dale Farm.

The police and bailiffs faced resistance from several dozen protesters who threw bricks and struggled with officers at the site, set in fields 30 miles east of London.


Kenyan jets pound al-Shabab in Somalia

NAIROBI — Kenyan jets struck in Somalia on Wednesday in a bid to rid the border area of Islamist rebels blamed for a spate of abductions, including that of a French woman who died in captivity, officials said.

Kenyan ground troops guided by pro-government Somali forces prepared for a fresh assault against the al-Shabab insurgents with the blessing of the Western-backed government in Mogadishu and its Ugandan protectors.

Nairobi’s unprecedented military incursion into Somalia, which it said already had killed dozens of al-Shabab fighters, triggered dire warnings of bloody retaliation by a top al-Shabab leader.

The Foreign Ministry in Paris announced the death of Marie Dedieu, a 66-year-old wheelchair-bound woman snatched from her beach house in the Kenyan resort of Lamu earlier this month and taken to Somalia by her kidnappers.


Hezbollah in Moscow for official talks

MOSCOW — A Hezbollah delegation arrived in Moscow on Wednesday for talks with Russian officials, the state RIA Novosti news agency reported, quoting the movement’s parliamentary leader Mohammad Raad.

The delegation from the Lebanese militant group’s political wing, led by Mr. Raad, was due to hold talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov on Thursday as part of its three-day visit, Mr. Raad was quoted as saying.

He said the visit aimed to show “the intention to deepen the prospects of cooperation and coordination between Russia and Lebanon.”


Prosecutor won’t appeal Mladic trial decision

THE HAGUE — The chief prosecutor of the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal said Wednesday that he is considering trimming the indictment against former Bosnian Serb military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic to speed up the case.

Serge Brammertz said his staff is looking at how to streamline the trial after judges last week refused his request to split Mladic’s indictment in two.

Mr. Brammertz had asked to try Mladic first for his alleged involvement in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre and later for other Serb atrocities committed throughout the 1992-95 Bosnian War.

Mr. Brammertz had argued that splitting the trial was necessary in part because of fears the frail 69-year-old general’s health could further deteriorate during a lengthy trial.

The trial is expected to start next year, but Mr. Brammertz could not say exactly when.

The court faced criticism in 2006 for the pace at which it delivers justice when former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic died in his cell of a heart attack, ending his four-year trial without a verdict.

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