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March 17, 2004 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-17

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2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 17, 2004


Spain's police suspect six Moroccans NEWS IN BRIEF

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MADRID, Spain (AP) - Police reportedly now
suspect at least six Moroccans took part in the
Madrid train bombings, and the United States is
assisting a growing international investigation that is
increasingly focused on Islamic militants possibly
linked to al-Qaida.
A 45-year-old woman died of her injuries yester-
day, raising the death toll from last Thursday's bomb-
ings to 201. Of the more than 1,600 wounded, eight
are in critical condition.
Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela led a Mass at
Madrid's cathedral last night remembering the vic-
tims of the bloodiest terrorist attack in Spain's his-
"The tragic attacks of March 11 have sunk us all
into deep pain," intoned Varela, a huge black ribbon
hanging from a wall above the altar. "To kill your
own kind, to kill a brother, is to attack God himself."
The main suspect in custody in the attacks, Moroc-
can immigrant Jamal Zougam, has already been
identified by Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon as a fol-
lower of Imad Yarkas, the alleged leader of Spain's
al-Qaida cell who is jailed on suspicion he helped
plan the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
The daily newspaper El Pais reported yesterday
that police believe they have identified five other
Moroccans who directly participated in the attacks
and are at large. Spain's Interior Ministry refused
Two people who were traveling on one of the
attacked trains have said that Zougam was aboard
just before the bombs began exploding, El Pais said.
With signs that the bombings were carried out by
Islamic extremists who operate and have confeder-
ates in several countries, FBI agents are helping
Spanish police in using fingerprints and names to
seek a full picture of Zougam and four other suspects
in custody, a senior U.S. law enforcement official
said in Washington.
Spanish police have also arrested two more
Moroccans and two Indians, but their possible role in
the attacks has not been specified. European coun-
tries were searching their databases for any informa-

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip

Israeli air strikes kill two Palestinians
An Israeli helicopter fired missiles at a Gaza City building yesterday, killing two
Palestinians and wounding 14, including a 2-year-old girl. The attack was the start of
a new Israeli offensive sparked by a suicide bombing at an Israeli seaport.
The missile strike came just hours after Israel's Security Cabinet approved a new
campaign of stepped-up raids into Gaza cities and towns and killings of Palestinian
militants, including leaders of the violent Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups, an Israeli
security official said.
Throughout the day yesterday, Israeli tanks were seen mobilizing around the
volatile coastal strip, while Palestinians lined up at bakeries and groceries to stock up
on food in case of new Israeli assaults. The Israeli military said the building
destroyed in the missile strike housed "Islamic Jihad terrorists, involved in attacks
against Israelis." Islamic Jihad officials confirmed one of those killed was a member
of the group but said the main target, area commander Mohammed Kharoubi,
escaped. They would not say if Kharoubi was hurt in the attack. Israel Radio said he
had been lightly wounded.
New Haitian leader builds unity government
Haiti's new prime minister worked to build a unity government yesterday, and with
11 of 13 ministers reportedly chosen, none was from ousted President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide's Lavalas Family party.
Aristide spent his second day in neighboring Jamaica, where he returned Monday
after two weeks of exile in the Central African Republic. He was given temporary
asylum in Jamaica to meet with his daughters. Aristide's return to the Caribbean,
however, caused fears in Port-au-Prince and Washington that his presence would pro-
voke more unrest in Haiti.
Chanting "Vive Aristide!" dozens of young men demonstrated in the tense Port-au-
Prince neighborhood of Belair, demanding Aristide's return and the departure of a
U.S.-led international peacekeeping force. "One day, Aristide is going to return here.
He hasn't done anything wrong," said protester Edeg Rosier, a 31-year-old electri-
cian. "Aristide represents something special for us. He represents the poor and the
forgotten." Wilgo Supreme Ebouard, leader of a neighborhood group, angrily com-
plained that peacekeepers patrol the slum from dusk to dawn and that residents are
afraid to leave their homes.

Two police officers yesterday accompany one of the detained suspects (center) alleged to be connected to the
train bomb attacks In Madrid, is seen outside the Nuevo Siglo telephone calling center in Madrid.

tion pertinent to the attack.
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymi-
ty, said "it's increasingly likely Islamic extremists
were involved in these attacks. In terms of assigning
responsibility, it isn't clear."
"It's not clear who these groups were," the official
said, referring to whether they had links to al-Qaida
and other extremist groups or even to the Basque
separatist group ETA.
A suspected link between the Madrid bombings
and suicide bomb attacks in Casablanca, Morocco,
last year grew stronger yesterday when French pri-
vate investigator Jean-Charles Brisard described a

phone tap in which Zougam said he had met with
Mohamed Fizazi, the spiritual leader of Salafia Jiha-
dia, a clandestine Moroccan extremist group.
Salafia Jihadia is suspected of involvement in the
Casablanca attack, which killed 33 people and 12
bombers and has been linked to Osama bin Laden's
al-Qaida terror network.
Brisard told The Associated Press the tapped
call is cited in a lengthy report written for Gar-
zon's inquiry of the Sept. 11 attacks. Brisard, who
is helping investigate the Sept. 11 attacks for
lawyers representing some victims' families, has a
copy of the report.

Pakistani forces ki1124 terror suspects

WANA, Pakistan (AP) - Paramili-
tary troops stormed a fortress-like
compound with mortars and machine-
gun fire yesterday, killing 24 suspects
in a fierce crackdown on al-Qaida and
Taliban fugitives in the rugged tribal
regions bordering Afghanistan, the
army spokesman said.
The operation - which left at least
eight Pakistani troops dead and 15
wounded - was a stunning message
delivered just one day after the military
president promised to rid the territory
of foreign terrorists.
There have been several anti-terror
operations in the semiautonomous trib-
al belt in recent months, but none so
Brig. Mahmood Shah, security chief
in the tribal regions, said the raid was
"the most deadly" in memory in the
tribal areas.
"There will be more such opera-
tions," he told The Associated Press.

"We will continue these operations
until it is assured that our tribal areas
have been purged of foreign terrorists."
Army spokesman Gen. Shaukat Sul-
tan said 24 suspects were killed in the
raid, which began shortly after 5 a.m.
near Wana, in the South Waziristan
region, just a few miles from the
Afghan border.
The majority of those killed
appeared to be tribesmen suspected of
sheltering the terrorists, but Sultan said
several of the dead were also foreign-
ers presumed to be members of al-
Qaida. There was no indication any
senior al-Qaida or Taliban leaders were
among the dead, though most of those
killed had not yet been identified.
The operation followed an announce-
ment over the weekend that American
forces are stepping up a sweep on the
Afghan side of the border to capture al-
Qaida and Taliban holdouts, including
terror chief Osama bin Laden and Tal-

iban leader Mullah Omar.
Sultan said soldiers were able to
retrieve only a small number of the
dead suspects because of continued ten-
sion in the region, though the fighting
had ended by yesterday evening. The
bodies of all eight dead soldiers were
taken to army headquarters at Wana.
About 700 paramilitary forces began
the operation early yesterday in
Kaloosha, a village about six miles
west of Wana, the main town in South
A Kaloosha resident, Qasim Khan,
said paramilitary troops exchanged
fire with people inside the mud-brick
compound, which had several low-
flung buildings in it and was surround-
ed by a high wall and several lookout
towers. The fortress-like design is
common in the lawless tribal belt.
It was unclear who was inside, but it
was believed to belong to one of seven
tribesmen from the Yargul Khel clan

"We will continue
these operations until
it is assured that our
tribal areas have been
purged of foreign
- Brig. Mahmood Shah
Pakistani Security Chief
accused of harboring al-Qaida and Tal-
iban suspects. The seven have refused
to surrender to authorities.
"We are not allowed to go out of our
homes," Khan told an AP reporter by
telephone from the besieged village.
The operation was the latest in a
series of military sweeps in Pakistan's
semiautonomous tribal regions.

aqi insurgents kill
humanitarian workers
Drive-by gunmen killed two Euro-
peans working on a water project south
of the Iraqi capital yesterday, bringing
to six the number of foreign humanitar-
ian workers cut down in shooting
attacks in Iraq over the past two days.
Four American missionaries also
working on a water project in the north-
ern city of Mosul were killed in a simi-
lar attack a day earlier.
The twin attacks seemed to signal a
shift by insurgent gunmen to so-called
"soft" targets in their effort to snarl work
by the U.S.-led coalition to rebuild Iraq in
preparation for the American hand-over
of authority to the Iraqis on June 30.
Three Iraqi police officers and a
translator working for the U.S. military
also were gunned down yesterday, vic-
tims of a long-running rebel campaign
to kill those perceived as collaborating
with the United States.
Ohio shootin suspect
had mental iless
The man wanted by police in a deadly
string of highway sniper attacks has a
history of mental illness and is believed
to have a semiautomatic pistol and
ammunition, authorities said yesterday.

Charles McCoy Jr., 28, lived with his
mother within miles of where the gun-
man's bullets killed a passenger, shat-
tered windshields, dented school buses
and drilled into homes and a school.
"McCoy has had mental health
issues in the past and is currently not
on medication," the Franklin County
Sheriff's Office said in a bulletin
released to police departments across
the country. "He is believed to have
suicidal or homicidal tendencies."
Fed keeps interest
rates at 45-year low
Federal Reserve policy-makers, wor-
ried about companies' inability to cre-
ate new jobs, held interest rates at a
45-year low yesterday and signaled
anew that they will be slow to order any
future increase that could cramp the
economy's recovery.
Private economists viewed the Fed
policy statement as more somber than its
comments after a similar meeting in late
January, reflecting the fact that the cen-
tral bank has seen two disappointing
monthly employment reports since then.
Some economists said the Fed likely
would not raise its target for the federal
funds rate, the interest that banks
charge each other, from 1 percent until
sometime in 2005.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports


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