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2nd LD Writethru: U.S. strikes suspected al-Qaida targets in Somalia: report

01/08/2007 20:38

WASHINGTON, Jan 8, 2007 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. military has launched an air strike against targets suspected of al-Qaida operations in southern Somalia, U.S. media reported Monday.

An AC-130 gunship flew its mission within the last 24 hours, CNN quoted a senior Pentagon official as saying.

The operation was launched based on intelligence that al-Qaida operatives were in that location, but there was no immediate indication of how successful the strike had been, it said.

The AC-130 gunship, operated by the Special Operations Command, flew from its base in Djibouti to the southern tip of Somalia, where the al-Qaida suspects were believed to be operating.

Additionally, U.S. aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has moved within striking distance of Somalia, but its jets have not been put to use, the official told CNN.

News reports said the al-Qaida suspects fled Mogadishu, the Somali capital, after Ethiopian troops entered the country late last month and were tracked with unmanned aerial drones as they moved south.

Copyright 2007 XINHUA NEWS AGENCY.

 

New dead Saddam video surfaces

01/09/2007 07:04

BAGHDAD, Jan 9, 2007 (UPI) -- A second illegally shot video of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein after his Baghdad execution has been posted on the Internet.

The video was shot long enough after the Dec. 30 hanging to show heavy facial bruising and the large wound where the rope cinched his neck, CNN reported. In the video, Saddam was still wearing the white shirt and black coat he chose to die in, rather than orange coveralls, and his body is on a gurney.

Two men can be heard speaking, the first inviting the second in to "quickly" take one picture. The first is apparently unaware the camera is a digital camera, as he repeatedly hurries the second along, and after 27 seconds begins to sound angry, and the tape stops.

Within hours of the execution, a grainy video of the actual execution appeared on the Internet, apparently shot with a telephone. Guards can be heard taunting Saddam just before the lever was pulled and he plunged to his death.

 http://www.upi.com 

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

 

Mediators free kidnapped Hamas operatives in northern Gaza

01/09/2007 05:46

GAZA, Jan 9, 2007 (Xinhua) -- Mediators from Palestinian factions could free three Hamas people abducted last night by Fatah militants in northern Gaza Strip.

Two groups of gunmen kidnapped at gunpoint five militants from Hamas and its Auxiliary Forces in Beit Lahiya town north of Gaza.

The Islamic Jihad (Holy War) movement and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) intervened and released three of the militants but two others remain held.

The governing Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah have been trading kidnappings in recent weeks in Gaza Strip. The fighting was part of power struggle between the two movements.

Meanwhile, a member of Hamas Auxiliary Forces has died in an Israeli hospital while receiving treatment. Tamer Nassar, 20, was critically wounded last Friday during clashes between Hamas and a clan in Gaza city. After the indents, cautious calmness reigned.

Copyright 2007 XINHUA NEWS AGENCY.

 

Abe heads for Europe to push for stronger ties, discuss N. Korea

01/08/2007 23:05

TOKYO, Jan. 9, Jan 09, 2007 (Kyodo) -- (Kyodo) - (EDS: UPDATING WITH DEPARTURE, ABE REMARKS)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe left for Europe for five days beginning Tuesday to reaffirm cooperation on tackling the North Korean nuclear threat and promote a greater global security role for Japan.

"I would like to show them Japan's will to actively contribute to the world," Abe told reporters Tuesday ahead of his departure from Tokyo, adding that he plans to explain to the British, German, Belgian and French leaders "in which direction I am leading Japan and what kind of beautiful nation I am to build."

Abe will also meet the heads of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as well as give a speech -- the first by a Japanese premier -- at NATO's top decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council.

Abe, who plans to rewrite Japan's pacifist Constitution to expand the scope of activity for the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, will push for further cooperation between Japan and NATO in peacekeeping and peace-building missions.

His departure for London coincided with the upgrading of Japan's Defense Agency to full ministry status on Tuesday. Along with the upgrade, overseas international peace cooperation activities were redefined as main duties for Japanese troops rather than subordinate ones.

In Europe, Abe will seek support for Tokyo's efforts to press North Korea to return all abducted Japanese nationals and for Japan's bid for a permanent U.N. Security Council seat.

Abe will begin his whirlwind tour, his first to Europe since becoming premier in September, with a summit with British Prime Minister Tony Blair upon arrival in London on Tuesday afternoon.

He will meet separately with Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown and opposition Conservative Party leader David Cameron, both considered potential successors to Blair, who is set to step down this year.

Abe will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt in Brussels and French President Jacques Chirac in Paris during the trip.

He will leave the French capital on Saturday for the Philippine resort island of Cebu to attend a regional summit.

On the sidelines of the East Asia Summit, Abe is scheduled to meet with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun, the first trilateral summit among the three nations in two years, to discuss realizing the early resumption of six-nation talks on the North Korean nuclear threat.

"It is a matter of course that cooperation between Japan and China, and Japan and South Korea toward resuming the six-nation talks is necessary," Abe said. "We will exchange views on the current situation and I believe it is important to show North Korea that (the three nations) are united in working on the issue."

Abe, whose support ratings at home have dropped following a recent series of controversies and scandal-related resignations in his administration, will return to Tokyo next Monday.

2007 Kyodo News (c) Established 1945.

 

Olmert's visit to touch upon Iran nuke issue, FM spokesman confirms

01/09/2007 06:16

BEIJING, Jan 9, 2007 (Xinhua) -- China and Israel will exchange views on the Iranian nuclear issue during Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's current visit to China, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao confirmed Tuesday.

The two sides will exchange views on issues of common concern, including the Middle East issue and the Iranian nuclear issue, Liu said at a regular briefing.

"China attaches importance to his visit, and we are looking forward to discussions on consolidating friendly relations between the two countries," the spokesman said.

Olmert arrived in Beijing on Tuesday morning for a three-day official visit to China. The visit is the first since he took office last May.

Copyright 2007 XINHUA NEWS AGENCY.

 



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