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Fighting terror notebook

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 28, 2002

Tribesmen say U.S. searching in Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- U.S. forces and Pakistani troops searched an Islamic school in a region near the Afghan border that has become a new focus for American personnel hunting for adherents of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network, tribal elders and Muslim clerics said Saturday.

Both U.S. and Pakistani officials have recently said that a small U.S. force is operating in the wild tribal region, but the comments were the first reliable reports of American troops seen by people in the area.

"The Pakistani forces with the help of American soldiers on Friday stormed a religious school at Darpa Khel to search for al-Qaida men," said Maulvi Abdul Hafeez, a prominent cleric in Mir Ali, about 200 miles southwest of Peshawar.

The building was empty and no arrests were made, Hafeez said. The school was set up by prominent Taliban leader Jalaluddin Haqqani in the 1980s, he added.

Afghan Islamic Press, a private news agency based in Pakistan, reported that about 10 U.S. soldiers and 200 Pakistani paramilitary troops attacked Haqqani's school on Friday evening.

Rocket hits runway

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A rocket hit a runway near the airport headquarters of the international peacekeeping force in Kabul but failed to explode and caused no damage or casualties, spokesmen for the force said Saturday.

The rocket was fired Friday night, hours before U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld flew into Kabul. Rumsfeld arrived in a helicopter that landed at the U.S. Embassy instead of the airport.

No access at Gitmo

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba -- Hundreds of detainees in the war on terrorism may soon be moved from their makeshift prison to a new $16.4-million facility, but the U.S. military, citing security concerns, does not want the outside world to see.

Maj. James Bell, a military spokesman, confirmed Saturday that construction has finished on the new 408-cell seaside detention center, Camp Delta, but the military has denied media requests to view the transfer of 300 suspected al-Qaida and Taliban fighters a few miles to the new camp.

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