Israel's seizure of a ship loaded with 50 tons of weapons proves the Palestinian Authority is "totally contaminated by terrorism," Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said yesterday. Sharon accused Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat of ordering the purchase of the Iranian-made arms, found aboard the ship, the Karine A, (above) intercepted 300 miles from Israeli shores Thursday. The Palestinian Authority has denied any connection. The vessel was carrying munitions including long-range rockets, antitank missiles, and explosives. The discovery overshadowed peace efforts by US envoy Anthony Zinni, who was winding up his latest mission with little apparent progress.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair travels to Islamabad today, in a bid to avert war between India and Pakistan. Yesterday, Blair signed a joint declaration with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee denouncing those who support and finance terrorism. India claims Pakistan-based militants carried out a suicide attack on its parliament last month. Blair said he believed New Delhi would resume dialogue with Islamabad once the perceived threat of attack by militants is gone.
Large aircraft should be able to land in Kabul, Afghanistan, within 10 days, French troops there said yesterday. The troops are overseeing runway repairs and mine-clearing as part of the British-led international security force in Afghanistan. Interim Afghan leader Hamid Karzai pledged, meanwhile, that the hunt for Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar would continue, following reports he escaped by motorcycle from would-be captors in central Afghanistan. On Saturday, the US military detained its highest-ranking Taliban official to date, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef. The former ambassador to Pakistan, Zaeef was deported by Pakistani authorities.
Italy's Foreign Minister Renato Ruggiero resigned Saturday, Earlier, he had criticized his government's handling of the Jan. 1 introduction of euro coins and bank notes. During eight months in office, he clashed repeatedly with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi over European Union integration policy, including the euro.
Singapore and Malaysia announced the arrest of 28 Muslim militants suspected of links to the Al Qaeda network. The security sweeps were conducted last month. Singapore's government said several of the 15 men it detained had received training at Al Qaeda terrorist camps in Afghanistan.