World briefs 01/13/03

Two U.S. Marines injured in Kuwait accidents

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait -- Two U.S. Marines were injured in separate accidents in Kuwait, where thousands of American troops are deploying in the biggest buildup since the Gulf War, military officials said Sunday.

A Marine corporal suffered head injuries Saturday when he fell off a trailer while securing cargo at Kuwait's Ahmed Al Jaber air base and was being treated at a Kuwaiti military hospital, said a U.S. military spokesman, Army Sgt. 1st Class David Dismukes.

The corporal was expected to be transferred -- possibly to a U.S. military hospital overseas -- once his condition stabilized.

Another Marine corporal received head injuries in a vehicle accident Saturday near a Kuwaiti naval base and was flown to Landstuhl, Germany, for treatment, Dismukes said.

The identities of the Marines and other details were not immediately available.

Pakistani police defuse bomb found in restaurant

KARACHI, Pakistan -- Experts defused a homemade bomb 20 minutes before it was timed to explode early Sunday inside a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in southern Pakistan.

The bomb was hidden behind a toilet at the restaurant in the city of Hyderabad. Police chief A.D. Khawaja did not specify the type of explosive and the motive for the attack attempt was not immediately clear.

The bomb was set to go off just before 1 a.m., shortly before the restaurant's closing. There were only a few customers in the single-story building when a cleaner heard a ticking sound and found the explosive.

Hyderabad is not a major tourist destination and local restaurants, including U.S. fast-food chains, cater mainly to Pakistanis -- not foreigners.

A spate of attacks against Westerners and foreign interests in Pakistan have been blamed on Islamic militant groups angered by the U.S.-led war on terrorism.

Philippine troops retake mountain village

COTABATO, Philippines -- Army troops have occupied a southern mountain village after driving away a large group of Muslim separatists and a kidnap gang in fierce clashes that killed at least 20 rebels and allies, an official said Sunday.

Army spokesman Maj. Julieto Ando said at least 20 Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels and members of a notorious kidnap gang called Pentagon were killed in military air and ground assaults from Thursday to Saturday in Polomolok village in mountainous Sultan Kudarat province.

MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu acknowledged rebel positions in Polomolok, about 590 miles southeast of Manila, were overtaken by the army because of the intense air bombings. He denied any rebels were killed and said only three guerrillas were wounded in the fighting.

Kabalu said three soldiers were killed and 14 others, including 11 from pro-government militias, were wounded in the clashes.

Turkish hunger strike claims 64th death

ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Another Turkish prisoner has died on a hunger strike, raising the death toll in the protest against Turkey's maximum security prisons to 64 people, a prisoner support group said Sunday.

Ozlem Turk, 27, starved to death Saturday after fasting for 471 days, the group Ozgur Tayad said. The hunger strikers take vitamins and sugared water to prolong their fast. Human rights groups allege the protesters are also force-fed.

Turk had been imprisoned for membership in the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP-C, a banned Marxist group, Ozgur Tayad said. Due to deteriorating health, she was transferred in August to the Ankara hospital where she died.

Leftist prisoners and their supporters began the fast in October 2000 in protest of the government's policy of moving prisoners from large wards housing up to 100 people to one- or three-inmate cells.

The government says that the large wards grew out of control and became virtual training camps for militants. But inmates say the smaller cells leave them isolated and vulnerable to abuse by guards.

-- From wire reports