April 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India
take refuge in Bethlehem church
wanted 6 passports
murder suspect wants Judge changed
presidency bid contested
writes to PM on Kashmiri Pandits
top bodyguard arrested
PLO ultras take refuge in Bethlehem church
Bethlehem (West Bank) April 3
“They have decided to take this church as a safe harbour,” Marc Innaro, a journalist with Italian state broadcaster RAI, said.
He said the Palestinian militants, many armed, had entered the church, built over the spot where Christians believe Jesus was born, last afternoon. Israeli tanks were deployed outside but the situation was calm early today morning, he said.
Innaro and five other journalists, mostly from Italy, were trapped in the church complex. He said the Italian embassy had been given permission to send armoured vehicles to pick up the journalists.
Meanwhile, a report from Ramallah said Palestinian forces surrendered to Israeli troops besieging the headquarters of West Bank security chief Jibril al-Rajoub after running out of food and ammunition.
Rajoub, who slipped out of his compound before the Israeli troops and tanks encircled it, said he was not sure if all personnel — about 400 including police, medics and service workers — had vacated the premises.
“They left for their own sake because they ran out of food and ammunition. There was not a single bullet left, not a single bottle of water,” Rajoub said yesterday in Ramallah. “We wished that someone would intervene. Nobody intervened.”
A convoy of at least three buses was later filmed leaving the compound for an unknown destination and Rajoub said he did not know where his men were going. The fate of several suspected Palestinian militants held by his service was not known.
An Israeli security source had said the army wanted to arrest 50 Palestinian militants in Rajoub’s headquarters suspected of masterminding suicide bombings and shooting attacks on Israelis.
The army did not immediately comment on the evacuation. But Israel Radio said about 200 persons had left the gutted compound in the village of Beitunia, near the city of Ramallah, and handed themselves over to the army.
Zubaydah wanted 6 passports
New York, April 3
The passports were to facilitate travel for Zubaydah to the USA along with his top deputies, Abu Omar, Farid Al-Jazairi, Abu-Ruwah Al-Maghribi, Abu Suleiman Al-Filistini and Mustapha Al Maghribi.
Ressam described planned bombings two months before the suicide attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, ABC television network reported.
“According to Ressam, Zubaydah informed him that he wanted to bring the above identified individuals to the USA to conduct terrorist activity, possibly in the form of placing of several bombs in various US cities,” documents obtained by the channel said.
Thirty-one-year old Zubaydah is a Palestinian born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He had trained Ressam in a terrorist camp in Afghanistan before Ressam returned to British Columbia, Canada, and holed up at a Vancouver motel to make a bomb intended to blow up Los Angeles International Airport.
Ressam, an Algerian, was stopped on December 14, 1999 as he tried to cross into the USA with a truckload of bomb components. He was convicted in April, 2001, of nine charges, including smuggling and terrorist conspiracy, but has been cooperating with the authorities in an attempt to win a reduced sentence.
Ressam’s sentencing, scheduled for Tuesday, was delayed until March, 2003. Ressam’s testimony is expected to play a key role in the prosecution of Zubaydah.
Details of Ressam’s statement to the authorities, obtained by ABC News, show the Algerian militant told the FBI in July, 2001, that Zubaydah was planning to blow up targets in several US cities. Ressam named people for whom Zubaydah wanted passports.
Pearl murder suspect wants Judge changed
Karachi, April 3
Two days before the trial is due to begin in this southern city, Omar’s lawyer moved an application in the high court complaining that Judge Arshad Noor Khan was not competent to try the case.
Lawyer Abdul Waheed Katpar said Justice Khan should not have been appointed to conduct the trial because he had already presided at an earlier hearing in which Omar confessed to kidnapping the Wall Street Journal reporter.
Pervez presidency bid contested
Islamabad, April 3
Qazi Hussain Ahmed, leader of the Jamaat, recently released from a six-month detention, filed a petition in the court yesterday accusing General Musharraf of unlawfully occupying the office of the Presidency by transgressing the legal framework set by the Supreme Court while legitimising the October, 1999, military coup.
The Supreme Court, while conferring legitimacy on the military ruler’s coup set a three-year deadline for him to hand over power to an elected government. The deadline ends in October. The court also directed that no major constitutional changes should be undertaken by the Musharraf Government.
In his Petition, Ahmed, who was arrested for opposing General Musharraf’s decision to allow the USA to launch an offensive in Afghanistan, said the military ruler’s act of declaring himself as President ousting the incumbent President, Mr Rafiq Tarar, in June last year was itself unlawful and illegal and requested the court to reinstate Mr Tarar as President.
Pallone writes to PM on Kashmiri Pandits
Washington, April 3
In a letter to Mr Vajpayee, the New Jersey Democrat said he had learnt that the Prime Minister would be visiting Kashmir to provide ‘socio-economic relief to the militancy-torn region.’
Fresh from a visit to India where he met with representatives of Kashmiri Pandits, Mr Pallone said it was ‘crucial that the concerns of the Pandits be an important part of the Prime Minister’s agenda.’
“The Islamic militants are promoting an agenda of ethnic cleansing,” Mr Pallone wrote.
“Their goal is to eliminate non-Muslims from Kashmir. For the past six months alone, we have witnessed daily and nightly militant attacks by separatist guerrillas against non-Muslims, including the Pandits,” he said.
Mr Pallone, founder of the India Caucus, said the constant fear of attacks by militants and the current living conditions had ‘stripped the Pandits, a peace loving people, of the most basic dignity that must be afforded to all human beings’ he wrote.
Pointing out that more than 3,50,000 Pandits had left the Kashmir valley since 1947 and over 3,50,000 additional have been forced to leave on account of the terrorist violence in the last decade, Mr Pallone urged Mr Vajpayee to give the Pandits an opportunity to return to the Valley under conditions that guarantee their safety.
He urged Mr Vajpayee to consider the possibility of reorganising Jammu and Kashmir with union territories, one of which would be for the Pandits.
Kumaratunga’s top bodyguard arrested Colombo, April 3 Presidential Security Division (PSD) Chief Nihal Karunaratne was arrested by the Crime Investigation Department (CID) at a private hospital here for allegedly issuing death threats to the police officer, who had arrested some PSD men in connection with an alleged plot to kill Minister S.B. Dissanayake. Kandy Additional Magistrate Pradeep Hettiarachchi issued an open warrant to arrest Karunaratne as he was not present in the court, when the case was taken up for hearing.
Colombo, April 3
Presidential Security Division (PSD) Chief Nihal Karunaratne was arrested by the Crime Investigation Department (CID) at a private hospital here for allegedly issuing death threats to the police officer, who had arrested some PSD men in connection with an alleged plot to kill Minister S.B. Dissanayake.
Kandy Additional Magistrate Pradeep Hettiarachchi issued an open warrant to arrest Karunaratne as he was not present in the court, when the case was taken up for hearing.
HIGH-TECH UNIFORMS FOR US MILITARY US PILOT KILLED IN PLANE COLLISION SUPPORT FOR KOIZUMI HITS NEW LOW FRENCH SCIENTISTS CLONE RABBITS 8 PERSONS
KILLED IN LANDSLIDE INDONESIA CAR BLAST CLAIMS 4 LIVES
US PILOT KILLED IN PLANE COLLISION
SUPPORT FOR KOIZUMI HITS NEW LOW
FRENCH SCIENTISTS CLONE RABBITS
KILLED IN LANDSLIDE
INDONESIA CAR BLAST CLAIMS 4 LIVES
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