Nation in brief: Post reports Imam denies Fort Hood role
WASHINGTON – The radical Muslim imam who communicated with the Fort Hood shooting suspect said he did not pressure Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan to harm Americans, The Washington Post reported today.
In an interview with a Yemeni journalist who was contracted by the Post, imam Anwar al-Aulaqi said Hasan first e-mailed him in December 2008. Eventually, al-Aulaqi said, Hasan came to view him as a confidant.
Al-Aulaqi showed the journalist his correspondence with Hasan but would not provide it to the Post. He said Hasan questioned the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and said the Army psychiatrist cited Islamic law that demanded “that what America was doing should be confronted.”
Hasan, 39, was charged last Thursday with the Nov. 5 shooting spree at Fort Hood, in which 13 people were killed.
The imam told the reporter that the Fort Hood attack was acceptable under Islam. “America was the one who first brought the battle to Muslim countries.”
Palestinians renew quest for state
JERUSALEM – A Palestinian drive to ask the U.N. Security Council to endorse a state unilaterally, put forward by a top negotiator Sunday, appeared more an expression of frustration with U.S. and Israeli policies and stalled peace talks than a real effort to go it alone.
A resolution for a Palestinian state could face a veto from the U.S., Israel’s main ally. But if the Security Council approved it, consequences could be more severe.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the move, warning Israel would retaliate.
“There is no substitute for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians,” Netanyahu said in a speech at the Saban Forum in Jerusalem Sunday evening, saying he wanted a full peace agreement with them.
Then he warned, “Any unilateral action would only unravel the framework of agreements between us and can only lead to one-sided steps on the part of Israel.”
He did not elaborate, but an Israeli legal expert said if the Palestinians move ahead by themselves, Israel would be within its rights to cancel interim peace accords, which regulate daily life between the two sides.
The Palestinians are upset over continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem and are disappointed with the U.S. failure to put pressure on Israel to halt the construction. The lack of progress led Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to threaten to quit politics earlier this month.
Truck bomb in Pakistan kills three
PESHAWAR, Pakistan – A pickup truck laden with explosives blew up in front of a police station in northwestern Pakistan today, killing at least 3 people in an area that has become the focal point for militant retaliation against a recent army offensive.
Police opened fire on the pickup truck as it approached a checkpoint in front of a police station in Badh Ber, but the driver was able to detonate his explosives.