World briefs 11/06/02

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Four Palestinians plead guilty in bombing attacks

JERUSALEM -- Four Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem pleaded guilty Tuesday to direct involvement in four bombings that killed 35 people, including five Americans at Hebrew University, court officials said.

Prosecutors said the four belonged to a 15-member cell that orchestrated attacks that included a suicide bombing in a Jerusalem cafe in March that killed 11 Israelis, and the Hebrew University cafeteria bombing in July that killed a total of nine people.

One of the Palestinians, Mohammed Oudeh, admitted to planting the bomb in the cafeteria at Hebrew University, in Jerusalem.

Concorde engine trouble spreads panic on flight

PARIS -- An Air France Concorde had engine trouble during a flight from New York to Paris Monday, causing the jet to lose 27,000 feet in altitude as passengers gripped each other in fear, the airline and passengers said Tuesday.

Air France said that one of the supersonic jet's four engines broke down over the Atlantic and the pilot continued the flight using the three remaining engines.

None of the 67 passengers on board was injured and the flight arrived safely at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport, said an Air France official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The cause of the engine trouble was not known.

Witness says Sept. 11 defendant admired Hitler

HAMBURG, Germany -- A Moroccan student on trial for allegedly aiding the Hamburg cell of Sept. 11 suicide hijackers expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler's attempt to exterminate the Jewish people and said Israel has no right to exist, a former roommate testified Tuesday.

In the first trial of a Sept. 11 suspect, Mounir el Motassadeq is accused of aiding suspected lead hijacker Mohammed Atta and two other suicide pilots who lived undetected in Hamburg before flying two planes into New York's World Trade Center and a third jetliner that crashed in Pennsylvania.

El Motassadeq, 28, faces life in prison if a Hamburg state court finds him guilty of belonging to a terrorist organization and more than 3,000 counts of accessory to murder. He is accused of handling logistics for the Hamburg cell.

Refugees take over Costa Rican embassy

BOGOTA, Colombia -- About 30 Colombian war refugees took over the Costa Rican Embassy in Bogota on Tuesday, police said.

No hostages were seized by the refugees, who made a series of demands of President Alvaro Uribe, police said. Officials did not detail the demands.

Colombian authorities did not enter the embassy, which is legally Costa Rican territory.

Colombia's 38-year civil war prompts hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes every year. Human rights groups estimate some 2 million people are displaced.

Senegal panel finds 1,153 died in ferry disaster

DAKAR, Senegal -- Overloading and violations of international safety standards caused Africa's deadliest ferry disaster, the Sept. 26 capsizing of Senegal's state-run MS Joola, a panel of inquiry reported Tuesday.

The government-appointed panel put the death toll at 1,153 -- higher than the previous official estimate of about 1,000. The panel also criticized the military for not sending its first search planes and boats until 12 hours after the capsizing.

The updated death toll includes children and soldiers -- who may not have been previously counted because they did not have to buy tickets -- as well as crew members. The ferry was built to hold 600.

Government releases six journalists from detention

KATMANDU, Nepal -- The Nepalese government on Tuesday freed six journalists held for months on suspicion of helping rebels.

The six were detained after King Gyanendra declared a state of emergency last November and restricted freedoms of speech and the press. The government promised to release all those not connected to the rebels. Twenty-one are still in jail.

-- From wire reports

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