Friday, December 28, 2001, Chandigarh, India





 

National Capital Region--Delhi

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Over 40 die as US jets bomb Afghan village
Karzai for halt to aerial attacks

Islamabad, December 27
At least 40 people were killed when US jets bombed Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika province, sources in Pakistan’s border tribal rim said on Thursday. 

UN sanctions on UTN, 2 Pak scientists
United Nations, December 27
The UN Security Council has ordered a global freeze on the assets of a Pakistani organization, two former nuclear scientists and a Pakistani industrialist suspected of links with Osama bin Laden.




The Pakistani police stands guard outside the house of arrested Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Maulana Masood Azhar in the Punjab city of Bahawalpur on Wednesday.
— Reuters
The Pakistani police stands guard

Masood killing: sixth suspect held in Holland
Brussels, December 27
One more person has been arrested in connection with fake passports that may have been used by the killers of Afghan opposition leader Ahmad Shah Masood, the Belgian Prosecutor’s Office said today.

Yemen names two Al-Qaida suspects
Sanaa, December 27
An official Yemeni newspaper named on Thursday two men Sanaa is hunting down for allegedly having links to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaida militant network.



Abdullah Abdullah and United States ambassador for the Western coalition say some of Al-Qaeda militants are still operating in Afghanistan.

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Israel, Palestine agree on 4-pt plan
Gaza city, December 27
The head of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Mr Ahmed Qorei, and the Israeli Foreign Minister, Mr Shimon Peres, have reached an agreement on the basis of future peace talks, a Palestinian source has said.

Oslo ready to mediate if rebels agree
Oslo, December 27
Norway is willing help Sri Lanka’s new government towards peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels if the guerrillas also want Oslo to play a renewed role, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

Scribe assaulted

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Over 40 die as US jets bomb Afghan village
Karzai for halt to aerial attacks

Islamabad, December 27
At least 40 people were killed when US jets bombed Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika province, sources in Pakistan’s border tribal rim said on Thursday.

“The attack took place when the people were asleep,” said one source quoting witnesses from Naka village, which was among those reportedly hit.

At least five houses were destroyed in the bombardment, including the house of a Taliban commander, Maulvi Taha, the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) said.

Witnesses said he was not in the house at the time and was unharmed, AIP said.

The source in the Waziristan tribal agency on the border said 40 people were killed, up to 60 wounded and 25 houses destroyed in the raid.

AIP put the death toll at 25 with four wounded and quoted witnesses as saying the bombing was so severe that it was difficult to identify some of the dead.

The villagers said they did not understand why they had been bombed, saying that no member of Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaida militant network was in the area.

“Neither Osama nor any other foreigner is in our village,” the source quoted one villager as saying.

The report of the attack comes a week after US planes hit a convoy that Washington insists was carrying Al-Qaida leaders and their Taliban protectors in a neighbouring province.

Meanwhile the country’s new interim leader, Hamid Karzai, is to ask the USA to halt aerial attacks on an eastern province where a convoy of guests to his inauguration was bombed, a local elder said.

“Mr Karzai has promised to... ask for the halt of America’s bombardment,” Abdul Hakim Munib, a representative and spokesman for Paktika’s 50-member-tribal council told a news conference in Kabul.

“He said he has appointed a team to verify the issue and find the culprits,” Munib said.

Witnesses and survivors have said the convoy came under attack last Thursday as it was en route to the inauguration of Karzai’s government at the weekend, leaving about 60 people dead. Locals said some enemies of those in the convoy might have passed on information on its whereabouts to the Pentagon, calling in planes to bomb it.

US officials have insisted the convoy had opened fire on US aircraft just before it was bombed and had been carrying Al-Qaida and Taliban leaders.

Meanwhile, atleast 300 more British troops have flown from Britain to Afghanistan to help pave the way for the planned multinational security force, the Ministry of Defence has announced.

The Ministry said yesterday that the new deployment, bringing to about 500 the total strength of the British team in Kabul, was made up of key headquarters personnel and “enablers”, whose main task was to ensure the international airport at Bagram was in fit shape to receive the multinational security force.

A spokeswoman said they were drawn from Headquarters 3 (UK) Division and Royal Marines of 40 Commando — the same units which provided the 200 British soldiers already in Kabul.

Those troops are patrolling the streets in vehicles and providing visible support to the recently established interim administration.

Britain has already confirmed it is to lead the force for the first three months and contribute up to 1,500 men, while Berlin has put forward upto 1,200 soldiers as part of a joint force with Denmark and the Netherlands making some 1,450 troops. Reuters, AFP

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UN sanctions on UTN, 2 Pak scientists

United Nations, December 27
The UN Security Council has ordered a global freeze on the assets of a Pakistani organization, two former nuclear scientists and a Pakistani industrialist suspected of links with Osama bin Laden.

The council’s committee monitoring sanctions against Afghanistan added the Ummah Tameer-e-Nau group and the three Pakistanis — Sultan Bashir-ud-Din Mahmood, Abdul Majid, and Mohammed Tufail — to its quickly growing list of individuals and organizations linked with Bin Laden.

The council move makes it mandatory for all 189 UN-member nations to freeze any assets belonging to the group and the three individuals.

On December 20, the US administration declared the Ummah Tameer-e-Nau a terrorist group and ordered the group’s assets frozen along with those of the three Pakistani men. The Ummah Tameer-e-Nau was founded by a retired nuclear scientist to run development projects in Afghanistan and is suspected of having links with Bin Laden and Mullah Mohammad Omar.

Mahmood and Majid are Pakistani nuclear scientists who had been detained on suspicion of sharing technical information with Bin Laden. They worked for Pakistan’s Atomic Energy Commission till retiring in 1999. They then managed a charity organization, and made several trips to Afghanistan, where they met Bin Laden. Both denied transferring any nuclear-related information to Afghanistan and said they only ran education programme and helped poor Afghan farmers. AP

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Masood killing: sixth suspect held in Holland

Brussels, December 27
One more person has been arrested in connection with fake passports that may have been used by the killers of Afghan opposition leader Ahmad Shah Masood, the Belgian Prosecutor’s Office said today.

The person — the sixth detainee — was arrested in Eindhoven, a Dutch town close to the Belgian border, the Belgian and Dutch authorities said. “We will be asking for his extradition to Belgium,’’ Jos Colpin, a spokesman for the Belgian public prosecutor, told Reuters.

The Belgian authorities are investigating the disappearance of Belgian passports, stolen in 1999, which were found from Masood’s killers, who posed as journalists and then blew themselves up on September 9 while conducting a mock interview with him. The suicide bombers were suspected to be sent by Islamic fundamentalist Osama bin Laden.

The Belgian police has already arrested five persons in connection with the passport scam, including a Moroccan, a Tunisian and an Algerian. One of those arrested is a Belgian of Tunisian origin, Tarek Maaroufi, who was also charged with recruiting Muslims for training in Al Qaida camps in Afghanistan. Reuters

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Yemen names two Al-Qaida suspects

Sanaa, December 27
An official Yemeni newspaper named on Thursday two men Sanaa is hunting down for allegedly having links to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaida militant network.

September 26, a state-run weekly, identified the two Yemeni citizens as Mohammad Hamdi al-Ahdal, also known as Abu Asem al-Ahdal and Ali Qaed Senyan al-Harthi. Yemeni officials have said they were seeking three suspected members of the Al-Qaida, which the USA accuses of carrying out the September 11 attacks.

The newspaper said Yemen, which is trying to shed its image as a haven for Muslim militants, will also send a team of investigators to Pakistan to help interrogate Yemenis who fought among hundreds of Al-Qaida fighters who fled there after the US bombing of Afghanistan. Reuters
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Israel, Palestine agree on 4-pt plan

Gaza city, December 27
The head of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Mr Ahmed Qorei, and the Israeli Foreign Minister, Mr Shimon Peres, have reached an agreement on the basis of future peace talks, a Palestinian source has said.

A document setting out the agreement, of which AFP obtained a copy in Arabic, handles four points, including Israeli recognition of a Palestinian state, and is similar to that published on December 23 by the Israeli daily, Yediot Aharonot.

The Palestinian leadership has decided to maintain its high-level contacts with Israel, despite its decision to stop Palestinian leader Mr Arafat from attending midnight mass in Bethlehem in the West Bank, and Israel confirmed that the contacts between Mr Qorei and Mr Peres had the agreement of the Prime Minister, Mr Ariel Sharon.

Herewith, the four points as described in the document. “Reach a complete ceasefire within six weeks under the auspices of the USA and start implementing the Mitchell report (named after former US Senator George Mitchell) to fight terrorism, by :collecting weapons, putting an end to the closure (of the Palestinian territories) and the blockade (of Palestinian towns), freezing settlement activities, putting an end to the assassination of (Palestinian militants by the Israeli army) and regrouping the various Palestinian security services under one single command.

“Israel must recognise within eight weeks a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and Palestinians must recognise the State of Israel on the basis of the same resolutions.

JERUSALEM: Israel today said its decision banning Palestinian President Yasser Arafat from making his annual Christmas pilgrimage to Bethlehem extended to Greek Orthodox Christmas rituals starting from January 6.

Israeli spokesman Arie Mekel reaffirmed the government’s position that Arafat would not be allowed to leave the West Bank city of Ramallah until he arrested the alleged killers of a far-right Israeli Cabinet Minister.

NABLUS (West Bank): Israeli tanks and helicopters fought a pitched battle with Palestinian gunmen on the outskirts of the West Bank town of Jenin, even as senior security officials agreed to measures to ease Israeli restrictions in the Gaza Strip after a lull in violence there. The fighting around Jenin left a Palestinian dead and at least two injured, as well as three Israeli security officers slightly hurt. AFP, Reuters

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Oslo ready to mediate if rebels agree

Oslo, December 27
Norway is willing help Sri Lanka’s new government towards peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels if the guerrillas also want Oslo to play a renewed role, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

“Norway has said it will contribute if both sides want it to do so,” ministry spokeswoman Gry Haaheim.

“It’s positive that the new government wants to get the peace process started,” she told newsmen, a day after new Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he wanted Oslo to extend its two-year-old role as facilitator.

Ms Haaheim said Norway was sounding out both sides to seek willingness about ending 18 years of conflict on the island in which an estimated 64,000 people have died. Wickremesinghe has not sent any formal request to Oslo so far.

A team of five Norwegian diplomats, headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgesen and including two at the embassy in Colombo, have been working on ways to resolve the conflict.

Norway began its peace role in Sri Lanka in early 2000, after successes in 1993 as a secret mediator in the now collapsed peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians and in helping to end Guatemala’s guerrilla conflict in the mid-1990s.

On Wednesday, Mr Wickremesinghe said peace talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were unlikely before March. Reuters
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Scribe assaulted

Batticaloa (Sri Lanka), December 27 
Sri Lanka’s best-known Tamil Internet journalist was stabbed and beaten up by a group of men at his office, the police and witnesses said today. The men, armed with clubs and knives, attacked Dharmaratnam Sivaram last night when he was filing his last report of the day for TamilNet website. AP
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