Archive for Sunday, June 30, 2002

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June 30, 2002

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West Bank: Fate of gunmen unknown after headquarters destroyed

Israeli troops searched Saturday through heaps of smashed concrete and metal, but found no sign of several wanted Palestinians who Israel said may have escaped massive explosions at the Palestinian headquarters in Hebron.

Many Palestinians doubt the men were even inside when the four-day siege ended at a government and security compound early Saturday, maintaining Israel only wanted to deliver another blow to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's administration.

Israeli officials said weapons and ammunition had been found. Soldiers took an AK-47 found in the debris and carried out some rolled documents.

In its statement after the first explosion, the army said it had rigged the four-story building to blow in the area where the wanted men were hiding. Lt. Col. Olivier Rafowicz, an army spokesman, said that although no bodies had been found, the army remained convinced the wanted men had been inside.

Afghanistan: Soldiers clear live munitions after blast; death toll hits 25

Afghan soldiers began clearing unexploded bombs and ammunition Saturday after a massive blast at a munitions depot scattered rockets, mortars and bullets throughout this southern Afghan border town. At least 25 people were confirmed dead and dozens hurt.

The blast, which killed at least seven Afghan soldiers and 18 civilians scattered munitions throughout a one mile radius, and were heard as a series of thundering explosions three miles away in the Pakistani town of Chaman.

In the Afghan capital, Kabul, two explosions were heard early Saturday in the vicinity of the international airport a heavily mined area where international peacekeepers have been working for months to clear mines and unexploded ordnance.

Maj. Angela Herbert, spokeswoman for the International Security Assistance Force, said the first blast before dawn was a controlled explosion. She said she had no information on the second explosion.

In Spinboldak, about 300 miles southwest of Kabul, Fazaludin Agha, the local military commander, said the blast at the munitions dump on Thursday was triggered by a rocket attack.

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