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World in brief

Leader of terrorist network is arrested

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 4, 2003

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- The fugitive leader of a Singapore terror network who threatened to crash a plane into the island nation's airport was arrested in neighboring Indonesia, police said Monday.

Mas Selamat bin Kastari, who fled Singapore a year ago after authorities began rounding up terror suspects there, was arrested on the nearby Indonesian island of Bintan, said Indonesian Lt. Gen. Erwin Mappaseng, head of the criminal investigation bureau.

The arrest is a significant step for Indonesian authorities, who until the Oct. 12 bombing on the island of Bali had been reluctant to acknowledge that terrorists were operating in their territory.

The Singapore government says Kastari is the Singapore head of the Jemaah Islamiah terror network, a Southeast Asia terror group that is affiliated with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network.

Jemaah Islamiah, which seeks to establish an Islamic state in Southeast Asia, is blamed for the Bali bombing that killed nearly 200 people and a foiled plot to blow up the U.S. Embassy and other targets in Singapore with suicide truck bombs. It is also responsible for dozens of other attacks that have killed more than 40 people in the region.

Terrorism ruled out in Nigerian bank blast

LAGOS, Nigeria -- Nigeria ruled out terrorism Monday in a massive blast that flattened a bank building in its largest city, while the death toll rose to 44 after more bodies were pulled from the rubble.

Lagos city spokesman Dele Alake said investigators were considering various theories, including whether the building's natural gas source ignited or a cache of explosive material stored there detonated accidentally.

U.S. soldier shot along road in Germany

BERLIN -- A U.S. soldier was seriously wounded by gunfire early Monday after he pulled his car off the road in southern Germany to clean ice from the windshield.

The 26-year-old private first class from the U.S. Army's 1st Infantry Division was wearing civilian clothes when he was shot in the left hand and leg on his way to the barracks in Schweinfurt, 60 miles east of Frankfurt, Schweinfurt police spokesman Karl-Heinz Schmitt said.

Police said they were focusing on a personal motive, after both German investigators and U.S. military officials said there were no indications of a terror attack.

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