Consolidating their control of Iraq, US forces uncovered a huge training camp for terrorists on the outskirts of Baghdad and raided the home of a leading scientist wanted for her work on Saddam Hussein's chemical and biological weapons programs. The whereabouts of Dr. Rahib Taha were not known, however. American troops also were holding Abul Abbas, the aging Palestinian guerrilla accused of plotting the 1985 hijacking of an Italian cruise ship, who was seized in another raid.Skip to next paragraph
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In other war-related news:
• Syria's government appeared to soften its defiance of the Bush administration, distancing itself from Hussein's collapsed regime and saying it was "always willing to cooperate in things that serve the Iraqi people's interests." But it refused US demands to close the offices of Palestinian radical groups in Damascus.
• Saying, "We cannot wait for a UN resolution," the prime ministers of Denmark and the Netherlands said they were ready to send troops to Iraq as "stabilization forces." But they didn't indicate when that might happen, citing a need to coordinate with the US and Britain.
• France's government appeared to backtrack on its insistence that the UN assume the central role in rebuilding Iraq, with an aide to President Jacques Chirac saying, "Issue by issue, we have to find the right balance" between the UN "and the American and British forces on the ground."
• Despite a security detail of 20,000 police, an antiwar protest outside the two-day European Union summit in Athens turned violent, with demonstrators smashing store windows and throwing Molotov cocktails, rocks, and paint bombs. At least five people were hurt, and police arrested dozens of protesters.
US representatives will travel to Beijing next week to join discussions on North Korea's resumed nuclear program, reports said. But it was not immediately clear that the talks wouldn't end up being bilateral. China, which was being credited with arranging them, likely would only be a bystander, analysts said. According to diplomats in the region, Japan will not take part, and rival South Korea will only participate "eventually," its foreign minister said.
Voting on weaker-than-usual criticism of Cuba's human-rights record was postponed for a day by the UN commission that deals with the issue, after a blistering attack by the Havana government. State television said the proposed resolution was "anti-Cuban" and called the sponsors - Peru, Costa Rica, and Uruguay - "vile lackeys of the US." The resolution asks Cuba only to accept a visit by a UN monitor who'd observe the communist-run island's human-rights situation. Secretary of State Powell had pressed for the strongest possible language, calling Cuba's record "horrible ... and getting worse."