2A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 17, 2003
Al-Qaida claims responsibility for attacks NEWS IN BRIEF."J
Group linked to car their deadly blow," the statement .> 'E' I
bombings in Turkey that
ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) - Two
Arabic-language newspapers received
separate statements yesterday claiming
the Al-Qaida terrorist network carried
out the car bombings outside two Istan-
bul synagogues - attacks that killed 23
A statement received by the London-
based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, a copy of
which was obtained by The Associated
Press, said a unit of al-Qaida executed
the attack on Saturday because it learned
that agents of the Israeli intelligence
agency Mossad were in the synagogues.
Abdel Bari Atwan, the newspaper's
editor, told the pan-Arab cable station
Al-Jazeera that the claim was received
by e-mail from the Abu Hafs al-Masri
brigades, which is suspected of links to
Al-Qaida and which has sent at least
three similar claims to the paper regard-
ing previous attacks.
"The Mujahedeen of Abu Hafs al-
Masri Brigades ... after monitoring
Mossad agents and confirming that five
of the agents were present in two syna-
gogues in central Istanbul, carried out
Another e-mailed claim of responsi-
bility sent to the London-based weekly
Al-Majalla said al-Qaida carried out the
Istanbul attacks as well as the car bomb
outside Italian police headquarters in
Nasariyah, Iraq, on Nov. 12 that killed
19 Italians and more than a dozen Iraqis.
Al-Majalla, which does not publish until
Friday, provided excerpts of the e-mail
to the AP.
The newspaper said the claim
received yesterday was signed by an
al-Qaida operative identified as
Abu Mohammed al-Ablaj, whom
officials in Washington have said in
the past is believed linked to the
terrorist network headed by Osama
The sophisticated attacks on the
synagogues used pickup trucks
stuffed with nearly identical explo-
sives detonated minutes apart, likely
by suicide bombers, officials said.
Israeli intelligence and explosives
experts have teamed with Turkish
investigators to investigate the
bombings, which wounded more
than 300 people, both Jews at the
synagogues and Muslim bystanders
on the streets.
TBOGOTA, Colombia . .
Colombia attacks ill one, injure many
Colombian flags hung outside the Bogota Beer Garden Company in mourning
and defiance yesterday, hours after suspected rebels exploded grenades at two
bars frequented by Americans, killing a Colombian woman and injuring at least
72 other people.
Police blamed the nation's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces
of Colombia, or FARC, for the Saturday night attacks in the Zona Rosa - the
first insurgent assaults on this popular nightclub district.
It was not immediately known if Americans were among the casualties-
or if Americans were the target. The United States backs hardline President
Alvaro Uribe's crackdown on rebels, which is partly funded with $2.5 bil-
lion from Washington.
Now in its fourth decade, Colombia's war kills about 3,500 people, mainly
civilians, each year. Ordinary people are worn down yet determined not to be bro-
ken by the fighting, which pits leftist rebels against the government and right-
wing paramilitary groups.
A white banner reading, "Never give in to the violent ones" hung outside the
Palos de Moguer, the other microbrewery attacked Saturday. "We cannot let the
violence intimidate us," said owner Guillermo Alvarez Forero.
Low voter turnout cancels Serbian election
Serbians' failed for the third time in a year yesterday to elect a president
because of low voter turnout, threatening a political crisis in the Balkan nation.
Amid widespread apathy caused by the lack of real economic benefits after for-
mer President Slobodan Milosevic's ouster in 2000, elections have foundered with
turnout below the 50 percent minimum.
The turnout was 38.5 percent, said the independent Center for Free Elections
and Democracy, a group that monitored the vote.
"Without a president, we will have an institutional chaos," said Stefan Gredelj,
an elections analyst, who blamed the result on voter's disillusionment with the
country's leadership. "The politicians are getting what they deserve" he said.
The vote was considered a major test for Serbia's pro-Western leadership, which
ousted Milosevic in October 2000 and a year later sent him to the U.N. war crimes
tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.
The third failure is likely to deepen the political malaise in Serbia, where labor
protests are on the rise and people are generally dissatisfied with their living stan-
dards after a decade of wars and economic decay.
Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom places a wreath during a visit
to bombing scene outside of the Neve Shalom Synagogue in Istanbul.
Militant groups may agree to cease-fire
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -
Palestinian militants are sending "very
positive" signals that they are ready for a
cease-fire with Israel, a top aide to the
Palestinian prime minister said yester-
day, a day before Egypt's intelligence
chief arrives for truce talks.
Cabinet secretary Hassan Abu Libdeh
said in an interview with The Associated
Press that he is confident Israel and the
Palestinians can halt three years of fight-
ing very soon. Whether a cease-fire can
hold, he cautioned, will depend largely.
Abu Libdeh's boss, Prime Minister
Ahmed Qureia, hopes to reach a cease-
fire as a first step of resuming talks on
the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan,
which envisions full Palestinian inde-
pendence by 2005. The plan has stalled
amid violence and Palestinian political
"The Palestinian factions are giving
us very positive indications," Abu Lib-
deh said. "I think that if Israel does not
play around with us, they are willing to
go as, far as possible ... but it is all in
Qureia said yesterday that truce
talks with the militants would begin
soon after the arrival today of Egypt-
ian intelligence chief Omar
Suleiman. The Egyptian, who has
helped mediate past cease-fires, is
coming to assist Qureia in talks with
cease-fire. A cease-fire also could
strengthen Qureia, whose govern-
ment was sworn into office last
week. An earlier truce - hammered
out by his predecessor - collapsed
over the summer in a fresh wave of
That cease-fire was declared uni-
"The Palestinian factions are giving very
- Hassan Abu Libdeh
Palestinian cabinet secretary
Israel, however, has not said whether
it would agree to halt its military opera-
tions. Israeli officials have said they
must continue acting against what they
term "ticking bombs" - what they call
militants who are on the verge of carry-
ing out attacks, although critics say offi-
cials define the term too broadly.
Despite the misgivings; Abu Libdeh
said he is confident the fighting can be
halted. "My analysis is that it will hap-
pen for sure," he told AP.
Abu Libdeh, who holds a doctorate
degree in statistics from Cornell Univer-
sity, has emerged as an influential voice
in the new Palestinian government.
Closely involved in Palestinian contacts
with Israel and the United States, he
indicated that progress is already taking
place behind the scenes.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces in the
West Bank town of Tulkarem arrest-
ed a Palestinian actiOvist they said
was armed. Naif Jarad, 47, a mem-
ber of the Palestine National Coun-
cil, a PLO body.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
It was unclear whether the two
groups, responsible for dozens of
suicide bombings over the past
three years, would participate in the
Qureia hopes to persuade Islamic
militant groups to end attacks
against Israel as a first step toward
securing an Israeli-Palestinian
laterally by the militant groups.
Yesterday, Hamas' political leader,
Khaled Mashaal, said his group
would only consider ending the vio-
lence if Israel reciprocates.
"If you can stop (Israel's) aggres-
sion and get an initiative from it
and from America, then come to the
Palestinian resistance and we will
study it," Mashaal said yesterday in
Medicare users may
get new drug benefits
Republican congressional leaders
said they sealed a tentative agree-
ment Saturday on a new prescription
drug benefit for the nation's seniors,
which would be the largest expan-
sion in Medicare's history.
"We have come to an agreement
on principles," Senate Majority Bill
Talks that lasted most of the day
smoothed over the last remaining
wrinkles in the bill, including a pro-
posal to have traditional Medicare
compete directly with new private
insurance plans and a plan to
encourage employers to maintain
drug coverage for retirees, officials
Two key Democrats, Sens. Max
Baucus of Montana and John Breaux
of Louisiana, joined Frist, Speaker
Dennis Hastert of Illinois and other
top Republicans in Frist's office to
announce the accord.
Talks to create free-
trade bloc will begin
Hundreds of anti-globalization
activists kicked off demonstrations
yesterday as representatives of 34
Western Hemisphere nations started
talks on creating the world's largest
free trade bloc.
Aides to trade ministers were
preparing for meetings scheduled' to
begin Thursday, when their bosses will
try to create a framework for creation
of a Free Trade Area of the Americas.
A business forum starts today.
Details of yesterday's meetings
were not available to the public, said
Richard Mills, spokesman for U.S.
Trade Representative Robert Zoel-
seat bet concerns
A private safety group estimates that
more than 12,000 people died from 1995
through 2002 because their states lacked
laws that allow police to ticket motorists
solely for failing to buckle up.
Twenty states and the District of
Columbia have such primary seat 'belt
laws. In 29 other states, police can issues
tickets for failure to wear a seat belt only
after they stop a motorist for another vio-
lation. New Hampshire has no seat belt
law. As a result of the National Safety
Council study released today, federal
officials are renewing a recommendation
first made in 1995 that all states pass pri-
mary belt laws.
unit members for murder
COLUMBUS, Ga. - The body was almost a skele-
ton when investigators found it, hidden in the woods
for nearly four months and so decomposed that knife
marks etched in its bones were the only way to tell the
man had been stabbed.
Spc. Richard Davis had survived the war in Iraq,
where he turned 25 during the march to Baghdad, only
to be slain after celebrating his homecoming at a top-
less bar near Fort Benning.
With the discovery of his body earlier this month
came an even more disturbing twist. The four men
accused of turning on him with fists and a blade, then
hiding his body, had served beside him in the same
Now the Army is on the defensive, accused by
Davis' family of writing him off as AWOL instead of
quickly investigating his disappearance.
Some people are also questioning the investi-
gators' conclusion that the killing was simply the
result of a brawl gone bad, wondering if trauma
from the battlefield could have led to bloodshed
"All of the evidence says there was no bad
blood" between the soldiers, said Mark Shelnutt,
a defense attorney for Pfc. Douglas Woodcoff,
one of the accused men. "They've all been to
Iraq, they want to have a few drinks. ... You
can't help but wonder. If this had happened a
week before they deployed, would the result have
been the same?"
Davis returned from the Middle East on July 12
from his second deployment since May 2002. His unit
- 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment of the Army's
3rd Infantry Division - had spent most of the past 14
months in the region training, fighting and waiting to
Davis never called his parents to tell them he was
back. He had no wife or girlfriend in Columbus. So he
piled into a car with four other soldiers from his com-
pany for a night out to celebrate.
They headed to the Platinum Club, a topless bar.
At some point, Davis apparently insulted one of the
dancers and the soldiers were kicked out, said Lt. Steve
Cox of the Columbus Police Department.
Davis's fellow soldiers later told police they
were upset about it and started brawling with
Davis in the parking lot. They left and drove
about three miles before Pfc. Alberto Martinez
pulled the car over.
Two of the men, Pvt. Jacob Burgoyne and Pfc.
Mario Navarrete, got out and continued their fight with
Davis. They told police that Woodcoff watched without
Then, they said, Martinez pulled a knife and stabbed
Davis several times.
The four soldiers drove to a convenience store and
bought lighter fluid. Then they returned to the bloodied
corpse, tried to burn it and left it in the woods.
The account of the deadly brawl came from Bur-
goyne, Navarrete and Woodcoff in police interviews
following their Nov. 8 arrest, the day after Davis' body
Police don't believe the soldiers' combat experiences
were a factor in the killing. Only two slayings have
been linked to the 16,500 3rd Infantry soldiers who
deployed to Iraq from Fort Benning and Fort Stewart,
"There are murders committed every day, and
most murders are committed by people who know
you," Cox said. "We see best friends killing each
other all the time - civilians, military, all walks
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.
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- - - - -
Remy Davis and her husband hold a photo of
their son, U.S. Army Spc. Richard Davis.
Davis' father doesn't buy that argument. He's not
sure why his son was slain but insists it wasn't a sim-
ple, perhaps drunken, argument.
"You don't go out and stab a guy and set his body on
fire after you beat him half to death because you got
kicked out of a bar," Lanny Davis said. "You don't go
out and kill your buddies. There was something else
NEWS Shabina S. Khatri, Managing Editor
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