- - Wednesday, August 1, 2012


CAIRO — Security officials said new sectarian violence erupted in a village near Cairo following the death of a Muslim man after earlier clashes there.

The officials said police used tear gas early Wednesday against angry Muslims who were trying to torch the local church.

The rioters set ablaze three police trucks and damaged several Christian homes. Sixteen people, including 10 policemen, were injured.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Sectarian violence first erupted in Dahshour on Friday, when Christian and Muslim villagers hurled firebombs at each other in a fight that started when a Christian laundry worker burned a Muslim’s shirt.

About 10 percent of Egypt’s mainly Muslim 82 million people are Christian.


Authorities release image of suicide bomber

SOFIA — Bulgarian police on Wednesday released a computer-generated image of the suicide attacker involved in the bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver two weeks ago.

A police statement said the image of the dark-haired man was produced after the badly damaged face of the bomber was reconstructed. He had been decapitated in the explosion at a popular vacation resort on July 18.

The photo was sent to partner services for possible identification after fingerprints and DNA samples taken from the bomber did not match anything in international databases, Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said.

He told reporters the explosives were attached to the bomber’s back. Earlier reports had said the bag of explosives was placed in the luggage compartment of a bus the tourists were traveling in at Burgas airport.

Investigators, who had found only the bomber’s head and limbs, also were suggesting the bomb had been attached to his torso.

Mr. Tsvetanov said the attacker had spent “at least 20 days in Bulgaria ahead of the bombing.”

Last week, Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said a sophisticated group of conspirators was involved in the bombing at the Black Sea resort town.

Israel has blamed the attack on Iran and its proxy groups, including the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Iran has denied responsibility, and Bulgarian authorities have not blamed any particular group.


U.S. urges patience in dealing with dissidents

The Obama administration is worried about a threat from the Iraqi government to forcibly shut a camp for Iranian dissidents north of Baghdad.

Falih al-Fayadh, Iraq’s national security adviser, on Tuesday said the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) must move out of Camp Ashraf immediately or be forced to leave.

The State Department urged the Iraqi government to be “patient and flexible” and seek a voluntary arrangement for relocating the former rebels, who were disarmed by U.S. troops after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

“The United States is concerned by the government of Iraq’s reference on July 31 to the possible closure of Camp Ashraf by involuntary relocation of its residents,” said Patrick Ventrell, the State Department’s acting deputy spokesman, in a statement on Wednesday.

Saddam allowed the dissidents to establish their paramilitary base in Iraq, but the group has fallen out of favor with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government, which is close to Iran.


Teddy bears drop in, bring down 2 generals

MINSK — It’s probably the first time in history that teddy bears have defeated generals.

President Alexander Lukashenko’s office said two generals were sacked after a Swedish light plane intruded on the authoritarian state’s airspace and dropped hundreds of teddy bears carrying slogans supporting human rights and media freedom.

Officials in the ex-Soviet state denied the July 4 incident until Mr. Lukashenko called a government meeting last week to scold authorities for allowing a “provocation.”

On Tuesday, the Belarusian ruler fired the nation’s air defense chief and the head of the Border Guards service, and reprimanded several other top security officials.

Mr. Lukashenko has ruled the nation of 10 million since 1994. He has stifled dissent and independent media, earning the nickname of “Europe’s last dictator.”


Heavy rains claim 31 more deaths

SEOUL — North Korea said dozens more people have been killed or reported missing because of heavy rainfall this week.

The announcement Wednesday came a day after U.N. staff visited storm-pounded areas to assess damage and investigate the needs of flood victims.

Earlier rains killed 88 and left more than 60,000 others homeless. Before the downpours, North Korea suffered a severe drought.

The country’s official Korean Central News Agency says heavy rain that hit western and eastern coastal areas on Sunday and Monday killed 31 and left 16 others missing.

The Red Cross says fact-finding teams in North Korea report that people desperately need clean drinking water, food and shelter.

The U.N. said in June that two-thirds of North Korea’s 24 million people face chronic food shortages.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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