World briefs 10A

Sunday, January 12, 2003

Israeli tanks enter Gaza Strip, kill Palestinian

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Israeli tanks entered the Gaza Strip in two locations early today, destroying a suspected arms workshop and battling Palestinian gunmen. One Palestinian was killed and 14 others were wounded, hospital officials said.

Hours earlier, Yasser Arafat called for an end to attacks against Israeli civilians in the two weeks before Israeli elections.

Witnesses said dozens of tanks entered the southern city of Khan Younis after midnight. One Palestinian was killed and 14 others were wounded in exchanges of gunfire, hospital officials said.

Four men charged in London ricin case

LONDON -- Police charged four men with producing chemical weapons and other terrorism offenses Saturday in the discovery of the deadly poison ricin in a London apartment.

The men, described only as North Africans, were among seven suspects arrested earlier this week after an anti-terrorist raid uncovered traces of the poison, which can kill within days. There is no antidote or treatment.

The four -- Mouloud Feddag, Sidali Feddag, Samir Feddag and Mustapha Taleb -- were charged with "possession of articles of value to a terrorist" and with "being concerned in the development or production of chemical weapons."

The men are to appear in court Monday.

Cold spell claims more lives in South Asia

DHAKA, Bangladesh -- A three-week cold spell claimed another 133 lives in South Asia, where temperatures in the 30s aggravated by chilly winds raised the total death toll to 779, officials and news reports said Saturday.

The death toll from Bangladesh's coldest winter in six years reached 489 on Saturday with the reported deaths of 68 more people, the Ittefaq newspaper said.

All those killed were children or old people living in the southern part of the country bordering India, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Hundreds of cattle have perished in the biting cold in India and Bangladesh.

The weather office in Dhaka said the cold spell was likely to continue until next week with temperatures dropping further.

Italian rightists attack Muslim Union leader

VERONA, Italy -- Members of a far-right group burst into a television studio and attacked a controversial Muslim activist while he was on the air. The altercation was his second televised fight in a week.

About 25 members of the extreme-right group Forza Nuova stormed into the studio of the local TeleNuovo channel in Verona, about 75 miles east of Milan, on Friday night, where Adel Smith of the Italian Muslim Union was appearing on a talk show.

They began throwing eggs at him, then attacked him and his assistant, beating Smith and giving his assistant a broken cheekbone and a black eye. Police arrested six of them.

Moderate Muslim groups have distanced themselves from Smith, saying he makes offensive statements that go against the teachings of the Quran.

Pakistan's Christians call for arrest of attackers

LAHORE, Pakistan -- More than 100 Pakistani Christians rallied Saturday, calling on police to arrest the assailants who attacked a church on Christmas Day and killed three girls.

Chanting slogans and beating their chests, demonstrators said they feel unsafe and are worried about what will happen to Christians, a tiny minority in this Islamic republic.

"We are not safe at homes. We feel insecure at churches ... We remain worried when our children go to school," Pitras Ghani, leader of the Christian National Organization, said at a rally.

"Police should immediately arrest those who killed our people on Christmas Day," he said "Enough is enough. We will not remain silent."

The demonstration came weeks after unknown assailants threw a hand grenade into a small Protestant church in Chianwala, killing three girls, ages 6, 10 and 15, and seriously injuring more than a dozen worshippers.

-- From wire reports

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