At Least 15 Street Children

Slain in Congolese City

KINSHASA, Congo -- Vigilantes have killed at least 15 street children in a city in Congo's diamond mining region over the past week, burning and possibly stoning some of them to death, officials said Monday.

Residents in the city of Mbuji-Mayi, 745 miles southeast of Kinshasa, the capital, have put the death toll as high as 30. Officials have not been able to confirm those figures.

"For now, we know that between 15 and 19 street kids have been killed," said Ingele Ifoto, Congo's social affairs minister. "It seems that some of the street kids had seized some of the equipment miners use," he said. The miners formed a protection force "and things got out of hand," he added.

Officials say that as many as 8,000 street children roam Mbuji-Mayi, a city of about 500,000 and the capital of the diamond-rich East Kasai province.


* BEIRUT -- The alleged top al Qaeda operative in Lebanon, who was captured in a raid this month, died of a heart attack, hospital and security officials said.

Ismail Mohammed Khatib, who was in his early fifties, was hospitalized in the morning after suffering cardiac arrest and died from a second attack in the afternoon, according to officials at Bahanes Hospital outside Beirut.

Khatib, Ahmed Salim Mikati and 10 other suspects were captured by Lebanese authorities on Sept. 17. At the time, Lebanon's top prosecutor called Khatib "the head of al Qaeda organization in Lebanon" and said he and Mikati were planning bombings of the Italian and Ukrainian embassies in Beirut.

Khatib was also suspected of trying to recruit extremists to carry out attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq. Mikati had been in contact with Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian who is the most wanted militant in Iraq, to arrange recruitment, officials said.

* JERUSALEM -- Greek Orthodox and Franciscan priests got into a fistfight at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, one of Christianity's holiest shrines, after arguing over whether a basilica door should be closed during a procession.

Dozens of people, including several Israeli police officers, were slightly hurt and four priests were detained. The shrine is built over the spot where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried.

Custody of the church is shared by several denominations that jealously guard territory and responsibilities under a fragile deal negotiated over centuries.

* MANAMA, Bahrain -- Abdul Hadi Khawajah, a human rights advocate, has been detained for 45 days for calling for the resignation of Bahrain's longtime prime minister. His family said he had begun a hunger strike.

* DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- A crane smashed into a wall during construction of a terminal at Dubai's airport. Witnesses reported at least eight workers dead and as many as 40 people injured, but an airport spokeswoman said five workers were killed and 12 were injured. Local hospitals said they had received a total of 22 injured workers.

An official involved in the terminal expansion project said the accident occurred when a crane carrying a girder smashed into steel reinforcements supporting a concrete wall.


* KARACHI, Pakistan -- Security forces following up on a raid in which a top al Qaeda fugitive was killed arrested four more suspected extremists. Pakistan's president predicted the investigation would lead to more militants.

The president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, lauded the killing of Amjad Hussain Farooqi, who died in a two-hour gun battle Sunday after vowing never to surrender. Farooqi was wanted for his alleged role in the 2002 beheading of Daniel Pearl, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, and in two assassination attempts against Musharraf in December 2003. Three other Pakistanis, one of them an Islamic cleric, were arrested in the raid.

During a visit to the Netherlands, Musharraf said intelligence reports suggest that al Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden, is alive, but he said he did not know where the fugitive was hiding.


* MOSCOW -- Russian and Israeli officials are planning joint training courses for anti-terrorism troops as part of widening cooperation between the two countries in response to terror attacks in Russia, Russian news agencies said.

The announcement was made after a meeting between Russia's interior minister, Rashid Nurgaliyev, and the Israeli prime minister's security adviser, Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland.


* LAGOS, Nigeria -- Rebels fighting for sovereignty of the Niger Delta told oil companies working in Nigeria, the world's seventh-largest exporter, to shut down production before they begin an "all-out war" on Oct. 1.

The Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force, in a communique issued after a meeting of its central command, also advised all foreigners to leave the delta, according to the group's leader. The delta pumps all of Nigeria's daily oil output of 2.3 million barrels.

* BUJUMBURA, Burundi -- The Burundian army and former rebel troops attacked the last active rebel group near the capital, killing at least 37 insurgents on Sunday, the army said.

-- From News Services