President flees as rebels attack capital

The president of Central African Republic, Francois Bozize, fled the capital early Sunday, after hundreds of armed rebels threatening to overthrow him ­invaded the city, an adviser said.

The rebel alliance, known as Seleka, issued a statement referring to Bozize as the country’s “former president.”

“Central African Republic has just opened a new page in its history,” said the statement signed by Justin Kombo Moustapha, secretary general of Seleka.

Heavy gunfire echoed through Bangui on Sunday as fighters made their way downtown and seized the presidential palace.

“Bozize left the city this morning,” said Maximin Olouamat, a presidential adviser.

Meanwhile, French President Francois Holland said he was sending more troops to the country to protect its citizens.

— Associated Press

Police dismantle Palestinian camp

Israeli police on Sunday dismantled a tent camp Palestinians set up during President Obama’s recent visit to protest Israeli plans to build a large West Bank settlement near Jerusalem.

During his visit, Obama singled out the settlement, known by its planning name, E-1, as particularly problematic. The settlement of more 3,500 apartments would close in one of the last open spaces between East Jerusalem and the West Bank, territories the Palestinians want for a future state along with the Gaza Strip.

Israel captured the three areas in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

Before dawn Sunday, about 200 Israeli police officers removed about 40 demonstrators from the tent camp, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Three protesters were arrested, but no injuries were reported, Rosenfeld said.

— Associated Press

Al-Qaeda, militiamen
clash; 9 are killed

Yemeni security officials said Sunday that clashes in the south between al-Qaeda and pro­government fighters had killed nine people.

The officials said pro-government fighters recaptured the town of Batis, north of the city of Jaar in Abyan province, after three days of fighting that left six militants and three pro-government militiamen dead. Seven were wounded, and 11 al-Qaeda members were captured.

The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters, said the army supported the pro-government militia known as Popular Committees in the fighting.

The United States considers Yemen’s al-Qaeda branch the terrorist network’s most dangerous offshoot. Washington helped Yemeni troops with air power and advisers during last year’s offensive to drive the militants from large areas they had seized during the political turmoil of Yemen’s 2011 uprising.

— Associated Press

Iran denies link to group arrested in Saudi Arabia: Iran’s Foreign Ministry said the country was not linked to a group of alleged spies arrested in Saudi Arabia, Iranian media reported Sunday. Saudi Arabia said last week that it had detained an Iranian, a Lebanese, and 16 Saudis for spying. Political analysts and news media in Saudi Arabia have accused Iran of being behind the alleged espionage.

120 inmates freed, 25 people killed in Nigeria attacks: Officials said gunmen raided a remote town in Nigeria’s northeast, killing 25 people and freeing 120 inmates. Adamawa state’s head of prisons, Andrew Barka, said Sunday that the inmates were freed in the Friday night attack in Ganye near the border with Cameroon. The attacks came a week after men claiming to be members of the radical Boko Haram Islamist network said in an unverified video that they would not free a kidnapped French family unless Nigeria and Cameroon freed all the group’s members from their jails.

Pilot whales beach themselves in South Africa: Six of 19 pilot whales that were stranded Sunday on a beach in the South African city of Cape Town have died, and authorities said they planned to euthanize some of the animals that were still alive. Police and other rescue workers had hosed down the surviving whales at Noordhoek Beach to try to keep them alive.

— From news services