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Archive for Sunday, September 12, 2004

Briefly

September 12, 2004

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Indonesia

Police release footage of embassy attack

Indonesian police on Saturday released security camera images of a truck bombing outside the Australian Embassy.

Indonesian and Australian police said several suicide bombers were still at large and could be planning more attacks in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

The video released by police was taken from two security cameras on buildings opposite the heavily fortified mission in downtown Jakarta.

It shows passers-by and security guards milling outside the gate minutes before they are enveloped in a huge cloud of white smoke and debris. People can be seen screaming and running in panic.

The attack was blamed on Jemaah Islamiyah, an al-Qaida affiliate that was also implicated in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.

Saudi Arabia

Blast rocks area near Saudi-American bank

An explosion, apparently from inside a moving taxi, went off Saturday near a Jiddah branch of the Saudi-American bank, wounding one attacker, officials said.

Several militants fled the scene in a stolen vehicle to a neighborhood where the U.S. Consulate in Jiddah is located, the Arab television station Al-Arabiya reported. It said they took shelter in an uninhabited house about 700 yards from the consulate.

Police sealed off the area, and the consulate closed for the day.

The blast came on the third anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, which were carried out by 19 Arab militants, including 15 Saudis.

Saudi Arabia has been hunting al-Qaida-linked militants behind a series of bombings and shootings in the Gulf kingdom.

South Korea

North Korea won't halt nuclear programs

North Korea said Saturday that South Korea's secret nuclear experiments involving uranium and plutonium make the communist state more determined to pursue its own nuclear programs, a news report said.

A spokesman for North Korea's Foreign Ministry condemned the South Korean nuclear experiments, conducted in 1982 and 2000, as "clearly of military nature," according to Pyongyang's official news agency KCNA, monitored by South Korea's national news agency Yonhap.

Officials had feared the recent revelations of those experiments would affect the prospects for six-nation talks aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programs, the unnamed North Korean spokesman was quoted as saying.

Greece

Patriarch killed in helicopter crash

The Christian Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria was killed Saturday after an army helicopter that was transporting him and his entourage to a monastic enclave in northern Greece crashed in the sea, according to government and church officials.

The Army helicopter, carrying 12 passengers and a four-member crew, disappeared from radar screens at 11 a.m. as it approached the monastic community of Mount Athos.

Hours later, bodies and wreckage were found about five miles off the coast of northern Greece, army and coast guard officials said.

Patriarch Petros VII of Alexandria, the spiritual leader of an estimated 300,000 Orthodox Christians in Africa, was confirmed as one of seven bodies retrieved so far.

Petros, 55, was born in Cyprus and ordained in 1969.

Moscow

Attacks spurs fears of authoritarian rule

A quick succession of terror attacks has shattered the image of strength assiduously cultivated by President Vladimir Putin, leaving the Kremlin grasping for a response to what has widely been dubbed "Russia's Sept. 11."

Stunned by the bloodbath at the school in the southern town of Beslan, even some of Putin's most fervent supporters are urging him to reverse his practice of sidelining the opposition and muzzling the media.

Most expect, however, that the Kremlin will reach for harsh, Soviet-style levers instead, refusing to negotiate its way out of the Chechen war for fear it will look weak and embolden other separatist movements in Russia.

Over the previous week, 100 people died in twin airplane bombings and a suicide bombing in Moscow.

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