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April 10, 2003 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-04-10

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2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 10, 2003

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BAGRAM, Afghanistan (AP) -
A U.S. warplane called in to sup-
port allied Afghans under fire mis-
takenly bombed a house yesterday,
killing 11 civilians. It was the worst
friendly-fire incident in Afghanistan
in nine months.
Afghan authorities condemned the
bombing, and the U.S. military said
it was not clear why the bomb
missed its target: a group of
assailants attacking a checkpoint.
The 20 attackers earlier fought a brief
battle with Pakistani soldiers deployed
on the Pakistan side of the border, U.S.
military spokesman Lt. Col. Douglas
Lefforge said. It was unclear whether
they came from Pakistan.
The assailants then headed toward
the Afghan checkpoint just east of
Shkin, 135 miles south of Kabul,
and opened fire, wounding four
Afghan soldiers.
Americans sent four armored
Humvees with at least 16 U.S. soldiers
to the scene and called in two Harrier
attack jets, Lefforge said.
The attackers fled, apparently split-
ting into two groups. One of the planes
fired a 30 mm cannon and dropped a
1,000-pound laser-guided bomb that
crashed into the house.
"Coalition forces never intentionally
target civilian locations," Lefforge said.
"The bomb missed the intended target
and landed on the house."
Whether "it was a technical mal-
function or bad coordinates or anything
like that, we just simply don't know
yet," Lefforge said.
American troops arriving at the
bomb site found one injured survivor
and took him and the four wounded
Afghan soldiers to a U.S. base near the
eastern town of Khost. No U.S. sol-
diers were injured.
"To the families of the Afghan citi-
zens accidentally killed in a bombing in
Afghanistan ... we send our sincere con-
dolences," Air Force Gen. Richard
Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, said at a Pentagon briefing yester-
day. "We sincerely regret the incident."
Mohammed Ali Jalali, the governor
of eastern Paktika province where
Shkin is located, condemned the
killings and said he discussed the inci-
dent with U.S. officials.
"They were neither al-Qaida nor Tal-
iban," Jalali told The Associated Press
by telephone. "They were only inno-
cent civilians."
The last time American forces
caused major civilian casualties was
July 1, when 48 civilians were killed
and 117 more were wounded by fire
from an Air Force AC-130 gunship that
attacked several villages in
Afghanistan's Uruzgan province,
according to Afghan officials.
WAR
Continued from Page 1A
The medical system was overrun
with civilian casualties in Basra and
Baghdad, cities where some of the
fiercest fighting has occurred. Doctors
said 35 bodies and as many as 300
wounded Iraqis were brought to the al-
Kindi hospital in the capital Tuesday.
Saddam's whereabouts remained a
mystery, especially so since a bomb-
ing Monday night on a building
where U.S. intelligence officials
believed he and at least one of his
sons were meeting. U.S. special
operations forces scoured the site ,
looking for remains or other evi-
dence that the four bombs may have
killed the Iraqi leader. Russia's For-
eign Ministry denied that Saddam
had taken refuge in Moscow's
embassy in Baghdad.
There was scattered fighting in the
capital, including at Baghdad Universi-
ty, where Iraqis were cornered, the
river at their backs.
Fires burned in the city after dark
- the Ministry of Transport and

Communication was ablaze - and
gunfire persisted. But Pentagon offi-
cials characterized it as sporadic
attacks from pockets of resistance,
and said U.S. troops had been
through most areas of the capital.
Increasingly, American and British
forces were turning their effort to
humanitarian assistance in the south-
ern part of the country, and their
firepower on northern regions not
yet under their control.
Warplanes bombed Tikrit, Sad-
dam's birthplace about 100 miles
north of the capital, in advance of
ground forces moving in. American
commandos and Kurdish peshmerga
fighters seized a key mountaintop in
northern Iraq, eliminating an Iraqi
air defense installation near the gov-
ernment-held citv of Mosul.

MOSCOW
Boarding school fire
kills 28, injures 100
A fire raged through a boarding
school for the deaf in southern Rus-
sia early today, killing 28 children
and injuring about 100 others, Russ-
ian media reported.
Rescue efforts at the school in
Makhachkala were slowed since each
of the children had to be awakened
individually because they could not
hear alarms, NTV television reported.
Four of the injured children were
listed in serious condition.
Makhachkala is located near the
Caspian Sea about 950 miles south-
east of Moscow.
The fire came on the heels of a
deadly school blaze in northern
Siberia earlier this week. A two-
story, old wooden school in a village
in the republic of Yakutia was com-
pletely destroyed in the fire Monday,
which killed 22 students between the
ages of 11 and 18 and injured at
least 10.
JERUSALEM
Abbas delays naming
Palestinian officials
The newly appointed Palestinian
prime minister delayed naming his gov-
ernment yesterday because of a dispute
with Yasser Arafat over who should be in
charge of the region's security forces.
Prime minister-designate Mahmoud
Abbas' delay came as five Palestinians,
including a 16-year-old boy, were killed
during clashes with Israeli troops in the
Gaza Strip. The two events were not

South Korea's president will make his first trip to thesUnited States next month
to seek a peaceful solution to the standoff with North Korea over Pyongyang's
nuclear programs, his office said yesterday.
Roh Moo-hyun will meet President Bush on May 14 and spend five days in
Washington, New York and San Francisco, Roh's office said in a statement.
Washington wants to settle the nuclear crisis through multilateral channels, say-
ing North Korea's suspected nuclear weapons programs threaten not just Ameri-
can interests but also those of Russia, China, Japan and South Korea.
But North Korea wants one-on-one talks to negotiate a nonaggression treaty. It
has accused the United States of planning to invade once it is done fighting in Iraq.
Roh and Bush "will hold in-depth discussions to forge a common stance on
bringing about a peaceful resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue," the state-
ment from Roh's office said.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said yesterday the meeting will reaffirm
the nations' commitment "as full partners to bring about a peaceful resolution of
the North Korean nuclear issue" and to promote bilateral economic ties.
The nuclear dispute flared in October when U.S. officials said North Korea
admitted having a secret nuclear program in violation of a 1994 pact.
BEIJING
China accused of concealing spread of SARS
A prominent Chinese doctor charged yesterday that the mainland government
covered up details of the spread of SARS in Beijing, and an American man with
the disease was declared dead in Hong Kong after being driven across the border
in an ambulance.
Other parts of Asia nervously invoked extra precautions to contain severe acute
respiratory syndrome, which has infected around 2,700 people globally and killed
at least 106.
The accusations of a government cover-up from Jiang Yanyong, retired chief of
surgery for a Beijing military hospital, came as news surfaced that one of Bei-
jing's hospitals had shut down because of SARS.
Jiang said doctors and nurses at two other hospitals told him at least seven
deaths have occurred in their hospitals and that there were 106 cases of the disease
in Beijing - more than five times the figure announced by authorities. The
Health Ministry reports four deaths and 19 cases in Beijing.
Doctors and administrators reached by telephone at the hospitals cited by Jiang
refused to comment.

related. The choice for the post of interior
minister could determine the credibility
of a new government, which Western
mediators and Israel hope will crack
down on Palestinian militants.
Abbas favors former Gaza strong-
man Mohammed Dahlan, who also is
backed by international mediators and
is seen as likely to try to rein in mili-
tants. Arafat wants to retain his long-
time aide Hani al-Hassan, who has
served as interior minister for months
but has made no serious move toward
reforms, officials have said.
HAVANA
Cuba: Quick trials a
defense agaist U.S.
Cuba defended its speedy prosecution
of 75 dissidents, saying yesterday it had
to protect itself against U.S. attempts to
subvert the government. It also main-
tained that the cases' timing had nothing
to do with war in Iraq.
The United States, which has dis-
missed the Cuban allegations, con-
demned the crackdown. "This is
symptomatic of the dictatorship of the
Cuban regime," White House press sec-
retary Ari Fleischer said yesterday.
The known sentences for 57 of the
government opponents who were tried
ranged from 6 to 28 -years. The remain-
ing 18 sentences were expected by
week's end. None of the trials has lasted
more than one day, activists said. There
were no reports of acquittals.
"We have been patient, we have been
tolerant," Foreign Minister Felipe Perez
Roque said. "But we have been obligat-
ed to apply our laws."
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.

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