- - Sunday, August 12, 2012

MANAMA — One of the U.S. Navy’s guided-missile destroyers incurred minor damage when it collided with an oil tanker early Sunday just outside the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

The collision left a gaping hole in the right side of USS Porter, but no one was injured on either vessel, the Navy said in a statement.

The collision with the Panamanian-flagged bulk oil tanker M/V Otowasan occurred about 1 a.m. local time.

The cause of the incident is under investigation, the Navy said, adding there were no reports of spills or leakages from either the USS Porter or the Otowasan.

The USS Porter is on a scheduled deployment to the 5th Fleet, which is based in Bahrain.

The Strait of Hormuz, located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, is where one-fifth of the world’s oil is routed through. Tensions have risen there regarding Iran’s threats to block tanker traffic in retaliation for tighter sanctions by the West.


Rescuers stop searches after quakes kill 250

TEHRAN — Rescuers ended the search Sunday for survivors of twin earthquakes in northwestern Iran that killed at least 250 people and injured more than 2,600 a day earlier, state television reported.

At least 20 villages were reported being leveled.

Ahmad Reza Shajiei, a senior government official in charge of rescue operations, said at least 5,000 tents have been set up to shelter more than 16,000 homeless. Thousands spent the night outdoors after their villages were leveled and homes damaged in the quakes, which were followed by an estimated three dozen aftershocks.

At least 1,100 rescuers reportedly worked through the night to pull out those trapped under rubble and to reach some of the more remote villages affected. By afternoon, state television had reported that search operations had ceased.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that Saturday’s first quake at was magnitude 6.4 and struck 35 miles northeast of the city of Tabriz at a depth of 6.2 miles. The second quake was a magnitude 6.3 and struck 11 minutes later. Its epicenter was 30 miles northeast of Tabriz at a depth of 6.1 miles.


Troops kill 20 suspected terrorists

KANO — Nigerian troops on Sunday killed 20 suspected Boko Haram Islamists in the restive northeastern city of Maiduguri, but lost one soldier while two others were injured, a senior officer said.

“We got a report that some suspected members of Boko Haram were meeting at a particular location in Maiduguri. Our men mobilized, leading to a shootout. Twenty suspected terrorists were killed while a soldier died in the operation and two others sustained injuries,” commander Victor Ebhaleme said.

Meanwhile, gunmen attacked a mainly Christian village outside the flash-point central Nigerian city of Jos, killing at least one person and injuring two others, a military spokesman said Sunday.

Capt. Salisu Mustapha of the special task force in Plateau State said the gunmen stormed Kombul village on Friday night.

Plateau State falls in Nigeria’s “Middle Belt,” where the mainly Christian south meets the majority Muslim north, and has been the site of waves of sectarian violence in recent years. The area has also been attacked repeatedly by Boko Haram.


Gunmen kill 8 Shiites, but spare Sunnis

KIRKUK — Gunmen affiliated with al Qaeda executed eight young Shiites but spared Sunnis after rounding up a group of men near a northern Iraqi town, a police official and a local politician said.

Four policemen were later wounded by a roadside bomb that exploded when they went to investigate the killings on a road between the towns of Amerli and Suleiman Bek, said Lt. Col. Colonel Jassim al-Bayati, who was among the wounded.

The victims were between ages 16 and 20, he said, and the roadside bomb was hidden under one of their corpses.

Ali Hashim Oghlo, a Salaheddin provincial council member, confirmed the account.

The attack comes just a day after gunmen riding motorcycles fatally shot six young Arab men from Amerli while they were swimming.


Kurdish rebels kidnap lawmaker

ANKARA — Turkish troops launched a search Sunday for a lawmaker kidnapped by Kurdish rebels near the eastern city of Tunceli, authorities and the lawmaker’s party said.

The rebels abducted Huseyin Aygun from the main opposition Republican People’s Party at a roadblock between the town of Ovacik and Tunceli, said party spokesman Haluk Koc during a televised news conference.

The rebels have previously kidnapped soldiers, local politicians, government workers, journalists and tourists, but never a lawmaker. Most hostages have been released without harm.

The kidnapping comes days after the government claimed troops have killed as many as 115 rebels in the southeastern town of Semdinli, and after Mr. Aygun’s party called for a meeting in parliament on Tuesday to discuss the struggle against the rebels.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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