Xining, China – Rescuers combed through the rubble of collapsed buildings for survivors today, more than a day after strong earthquakes shook a mountainous Tibetan region of China, killing nearly 600 people and injuring thousands.
The series of quakes flattened buildings across remote western Yushu county and sent survivors, many bleeding from their wounds, flooding into the streets of Jiegu township. State television showed block after devastated block of toppled mud and wood homes. Local officials said 85 percent of the buildings had been destroyed.
Residents and troops garrisoned in the town used shovels and their hands to pull survivors and bodies from the rubble much of the day Wednesday.
Several schools collapsed, with the state news agency saying at least 56 students died.
Plot to hijack planes thwarted
Baghdad – Iraqi security forces disrupted a 9/11-style plot by al-Qaida in Iraq to fly hijacked planes into Shiite religious shrines, Iraqi and U.S. officials said Wednesday.
Iraqi security officials said they temporarily shut down at least two airports and have arrested two men – one of the intended pilots and an airport worker – suspected in the plot, which appeared aimed at undermining the country’s stability while U.S. troops prepare to go home.
Two U.S. intelligence officials in Washington confirmed the plot but said it did not appear to be fully planned out, nor was it clear that militants would be able to carry out any attacks.