Baghdad church siege ends with 52 dead
Yemeni student released with no charges
Brazil gets first woman President
Child soldier to serve eight-year sentence
Baghdad, November 1
It was not immediately clear whether the hostages died at the hands of the attackers or during the rescue late last night in an affluent neighbourhood of the capital.
The incident began when militants wearing suicide vests and armed with grenades attacked the Iraqi stock exchange yesterday before turning their attention to the nearby Our Lady of Deliverance church, one of Baghdad's main Catholic places of worship, taking about 120 Christians hostage.
Deputy Interior Minister Maj Gen Hussein Ali Kamal said 52 people were killed and 67 wounded, in the bloodbath.
Officials said at least one priest and 10 policemen were among the dead. Many of the wounded were women.
A Christian member of parliament today described the Iraqi rescue operation as "not professional", saying "it was a hasty action that prompted the terrorists to kill the worshippers." "We have no clear picture yet whether the worshippers were killed by the security forces bullets or by terrorists, but what we know is that most of them were killed when the security forces started to storm the church," Younadem Kana said.
Video footage from an American drone that was overhead during the attack showed a black plume of smoke followed by flashes from inside the building before what appears to be soldiers going in.
US forces often supply air support to Iraqi forces conducting operations on the ground, feeding them video footage of what American drones see from the air.
The casualty information was confirmed by police and officials at hospitals where the dead and wounded were taken.
There were conflicting accounts about the number of attackers involved in the assault, with Baghdad military spokesman Maj Gen Qassim al-Moussawi saying last night that security forces killed eight, while the US military said between five and seven died.
Two police officers on the scene, however, say only three attackers were killed and another seven arrested afterward.
A cryptically worded statement posted yesterday on a militant website allegedly by the Islamic State of Iraq appeared to claim responsibility for the attack. The group, which is linked to al-Qaida in Iraq, said it would "exterminate Iraqi Christians" if Muslim women in Egypt were not freed. — AP
New York, November 1
The engineering student and her mother was picked up on Saturday after the authorities tracked her down from the name and phone number on the shipping documents. But, it now appears that the woman's identity was stolen, the media here reported.
There is currently no one in custody for the terror plan, which is being blamed on Al-Qaida operating in the Arabian Peninsula.
A Yemeni official in Washington told the LA Times "they brought in several people from the shipping company where the package was dropped off. They had them look at the woman and see if they could identify her. All of them said it was not her".
The official added that the woman who did drop off the package "used a passport and an ID that had the full name of Hanan Samawi, and her address and phone number.... We believe it was someone who knew Hanan Samawi or somehow their paths crossed".
Many of Samawi's friends protested on how she had been treated by the police, and her lawyer, Abdulraham Barman, who is active in the field of human rights, suggested that the US was preparing to get involved in Yemen. "I think it's an orchestration to draw more attention to Yemen," he said. "The US wants to be more active here, and this plot is a fabrication to justify coming military strikes against Al-Qaida".
Meanwhile, thousands of cheering Yemenis today greeted her release. Samawi, accompanied by her father, appeared at a rally on Monday at the edge of Sanaa University campus, where students and teachers hugged her and threw roses.
"I thank everyone for supporting me," Samawi told reporters. A banner held up at the rally read: "We want the facts revealed in the case of Hanan al-Samawi" while the crowd chanted: "No to the arrest of students." — AP
‘Wedding gift is being delivered’ foiled plot
London: The alleged Al-Qaida plot of parcel bombs on two United States-bound flights was foiled when intelligence agencies decoded the terrorists' chilling message: "A wedding gift is being delivered." The code was cracked hours before the two packages containing explosive liquid explosive PETN were intercepted in the UK and Dubai.
According to the Daily Star, the evil "Romeo and Juliet" plot is believed to have been masterminded by Yemen-based American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Saudi Ibrahim Hassal al-Asiri is thought to have made the bombs. Al-Asiri is also believed to have made the device involved in the failed Christmas Day bomb plot over Detroit last year.
The package found in the UK was on board a UPS cargo aircraft, while the other, in Dubai, was found in a FedEx sorting facility.
British Prime Minister David Cameron had earlier said that the bomb was designed to "explode mid-air".
Authorities in Yemen are currently investigating another 24 suspect parcels.
DUBAI: A Saudi bomb-maker believed to be working with Al-Qaida's Yemen-based wing is a key suspect in the parcel bomb plot against the United States. The bombs had all the hallmarks of Al-Qaida, officials say. Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri is being closely looked at by authorities in view of his experience with explosives, a US official said. Asiri was born in Saudi Arabia and is believed to have fled to Yemen to work with Al-Qaida's Yemen-based regional wing, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
Asiri tops Saudi Arabia's terrorism wanted list and is the older brother of a suicide bomber who died last year while trying to assassinate Saudi counter-terrorism chief Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.
US intelligence officials suspect Asiri may have been involved in making the bombs for two other attempts by AQAP, the failed suicide attack on Prince Mohammed bin Nayef last year and a bomb attempt on a US-bound plane in December.
Sao Paulo, November 1
A statement from the Supreme Electoral Court, which oversees elections, said governing party candidate Dilma Rousseff won the election. When she takes office January 1, she will be Brazil's first female leader.
With 99 per cent of the ballots counted, Rousseff had 55.6 per cent compared to 44.4 per cent for her centrist rival, Jose Serra, the electoral court said.
"I'm very happy. I want to thank all Brazilians for this moment and I promise to honour the trust they have shown me," Rousseff told reporters who swarmed a car carrying her in Brasilia, her first public words as president-elect.
Rousseff, the hand-chosen candidate of wildly popular President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, won by cementing her image to Silva’s, whose policies she promised to continue.
She will lead a nation on the rise, a country that will host the 2014 World Cup and that is expected to be the globe's fifth-largest economy by the time it hosts the 2016 Summer Olympics. It has also recently discovered huge oil reserves off its coast.
Rousseff was already speaking like a president-elect before the result was announced. "Starting tomorrow we begin a new stage of democracy," Rousseff, 62, said in the southern city of Porto Alegre, where she cast her vote. "I will rule for everyone, speak with all Brazilians, without exception".
Silva used his 80 per cent approval ratings to campaign incessantly for Rousseff, his former chief of staff and political protege. — AP
Guantanamo Bay, November 1
A seven-member military panel deliberated for nearly nine hours over a two-day period before reaching their decision for Khadr, who pleaded guilty earlier this month to throwing a grenade that killed a US sergeant in Afghanistan in 2002, when he was just 15.
Judge Patrick Parrish, a US Army colonel, said under a plea agreement with the US authorities to avoid a life sentence, Khadr would serve one year at Guantanamo Bay and the rest in Canada, pending Ottawa's approval.
Khadr, now 24, became the third Guantanamo detainee to plead guilty and the fifth to face court proceedings before military commissions, George Bush-era war tribunals reformed and reinstated by President Barack Obama.
He is the last Westerner held at Guantanamo Bay, the US naval base where 174 “war on terror” detainees remain. — AFP
French Prez Sarkozy fears for life
Germany blocks all flights from Yemen
down on cargo
US sends security experts
Woman wounded in mail bomb blast