Worldwide fallout from US air strike against Libya continues
The fallout from last week's United States strike against Libya continued with the following events: British police arrested 21 Libyans in a series of raids Tuesday and the Home Office said they would be expelled from Britain as a matter of national security.
In Beirut, 10 Americans joined the long list of Westerners evacuated from west Beirut as a precaution against stepped-up threats from Islamic extremists, seeking to avenge last week's US air strike on Libya.
In West Berlin, a Palestinian arrested in connection with the April 5 bombing of a nightclub was identified as the brother of a man accused in Britain of trying to bomb an Israeli airliner, officials said.
West Germany, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg said they would cut the number of Libyan diplomats in their countries in line with a European Community decision taken Monday. The other EC countries withheld decisions.
At a meeting of the United Nations Security Council in New York late Monday, the US, Britain, and France vetoed a resolution condemning the US for its air strike against Libya. The Soviet Union and China, as well as seven other communist and nonaligned countries voted for the resolution. Australia and Denmark voted against the resolution and Venezuela abstained.
Italian police Monday arrested Arebi Muhammad Fituri, a former Libyan Embassy administrative clerk in Rome, in connection with a purported plot to shoot Maxwell Rabb, US ambassador to Italy, last year.
Thousands of miles away, in Thailand, a bomb tossed from a passing car exploded in the compound of the US Consulate in the southern city of Songkhla early Tuesday. No injuries were reported. Officials said they suspected the bombers were a group of pro-Libyan Muslims, including Thais and foreigners.
In the Peruvian capital of Lima, leftist rebels detonated a car bomb outside the US ambassador's home. The Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement said it was to protest the US air strikes against Libya last week.
In Bonn, the West German government denied a press report that Chancellor Helmut Kohl privately expressed support for military action against Libya before last week's US air strikes. The New York Times quoted an unidentified US official as saying Dr. Kohl and Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi favored ``stronger military action'' against Libya but told the US privately that they could not adopt that position publicly.
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, questioned in Parliament, said: ``We are considering . . . any further actions we can take.'' She also indicated she would have liked stronger Common Market measures. ``The European Community has gone further than it agreed before. . . . We would have liked a lot more to be done and we must consider how much further to go ourselves.''
The British Home Office said the 21 Libyans, mostly university students, were suspected of involvement in ``student revolutionary activities,'' but did not elaborate. The government threatened more expulsions if needed.
The Libyans were detained a day after the European Community's foreign ministers, with Britain leading the way, decided to clamp down on Libyan trade and diplomatic representation in Western Europe. Britain was the only EC member to publicly approve last week's US raid.
The 10 Americans, who left west Beirut Tuesday under heavy guard from Druze militiamen, joined more than 35 Britons and other Westerners who left over the weekend. Sharpshooters from Walid Jumblatt's Druze militia manned rooftops overlooking approaches to the area. At least three evacuees were professors at the American University. Others worked at the College Protestant Fran,cais, the American International College, and the Rashideen International Language Center, a privately owned institute. The rest refused to comment.