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Archive for Saturday, August 9, 2003

Briefly

August 9, 2003

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Alabama

Army to destroy chemical weapons at incinerator

The Army plans to start destroying Cold War-era chemical weapons today at its incinerator near Anniston, the first time the military has burned the deadly munitions near a populated area.

The timetable to start destroying the chemical weapons came Friday after a judge in Washington rejected motions by opponents to delay it. The incinerator will begin operations this morning unless weather or other factors cause a delay, incinerator spokesman Mike Abrams said.

The Army plans only "limited burns" on weekends and between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. on weekdays until certain schools and other community buildings near the incinerator are provided with safety pressurization this fall.

Opponents say incineration raises too great a risk near homes and schools -- about 35,000 people live in the "pink zone" within nine miles of the Army site, which is about 50 miles east of Alabama's most populous city, Birmingham.

Lebanon

Hezbollah shells border area; Israel responds with airstrike

Hezbollah guerrillas shelled Israeli positions in a disputed border region for the first time in eight months Friday, drawing Israeli airstrikes and artillery fire and a sharp rebuke from the United States.

Hezbollah said its two-hour attack was in retaliation for the killing of a Hezbollah security official last week south of Beirut. Hezbollah blamed Israel for killing Ali Hussein Saleh, who died when a bomb tore apart his car.

Hezbollah's Al-Manar television, quoting unnamed security sources, said the attack resulted in five Israeli casualties, but Israeli military sources said there were none.

In response to the attack, American diplomats told Lebanon and Syria -- which dominates Lebanon -- that the administration was seriously concerned about what a U.S. official described as a "calculated and provocative escalation" by the Shiite militant group. They told the two governments it was important to restrain further attacks.

Indonesia

Al-Qaida-linked group behind Marriott blast, police say

A man whose severed head was found at the site of this week's Marriott bombing had been recruited by a Southeast Asian terror group linked to al-Qaida to carry out the attack, police said Friday. U.S. officials warned that the attackers might target Americans next.

Two jailed members of Jemaah Islamiyah identified a photo of the head and admitted recruiting the man, said Indonesian chief of detectives Erwin Mappaseng. The man drove the explosive-packed van that detonated Tuesday outside the Marriott, killing 10 people and wounding nearly 150, police said.

The identification, if confirmed, would provide the clearest link between the hotel attack and Jemaah Islamiyah, the group accused of carrying out the twin bombings last October on the island of Bali and a series of church bombings in Indonesia on Christmas Eve 2000.

The two Jemaah members identified the man as Asmar Latin Sani, a 28-year-old from the island of Sumatra, "based on a scar on his left temple," Mappaseng told reporters.

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