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Synagogue attack may be linked to al-Qaida

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 17, 2002

A truck explosion that killed 16 people outside a synagogue in Tunisia last week looks increasingly like it may have been a terrorist act, authorities in Germany, France and Tunisia said Tuesday.

German prosecutors say an accelerating criminal investigation indicates that the April 11 blast on the resort island of Djerba was "a deliberate attack."

A group linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network, the Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Sites, has claimed responsibility for the explosion, according to two London-based Arabic newspapers. If the claim is true, it would be the first attack by al-Qaida since the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

The group claimed responsibility for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

It said the Tunisian bombing was in retaliation for "Israeli crimes" against Palestinians.

GERMAN TRIAL: Five Algerian men went on trial in Frankfurt, Germany, on Tuesday, accused of planning to blow up a Christmas market in France and of being part of an Islamic terrorist group trained in Afghanistan.

LINDH TRIAL: Lawyers for John Walker Lindh should be given 13 summaries of interviews with al-Qaida and Taliban detainees, but the material should not be made public, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Report: Defense revamp planned

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon is making the biggest changes in decades to its master plan for assigning war-fighting responsibilities at home and around the world, officials said Tuesday.

The redesign, expected to be announced today by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, would create a new command, to be called Northern Command, responsible for defense of U.S. territory, including the waters off the East and West coasts, the Associated Press reported, quoting officials who discussed some details of the plan on condition of anonymity.

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