October 15, 2010 in Nation/World

In brief: Ahmadinejad visits Israel border


BINT JBEIL, Lebanon – Iran’s president taunted archenemy Israel on Thursday from just across the tense border in Lebanon, rallying tens of thousands of Hezbollah supporters as Israeli attack helicopters buzzed in the skies nearby.

“The world should know that the Zionists will perish,” declared Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, echoing previous verbal attacks in which he has said Israel should be wiped off the map.

“Occupied Palestine will be liberated from the filth of occupation by the strength of resistance and through the faith of the resistance,” the Iranian leader vowed as cheers went up from the crowd.

The fiery speech was delivered in the border village of Bint Jbeil, which was nearly destroyed by Israeli bombs in the 2006 war with Hezbollah and rebuilt with the help of Iranian cash. Ahmadinejad’s visit to the southern Lebanese area was denounced by Washington and Israel as a provocation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by saying Israel knows how to protect itself.

“The best answer to the deriders was given here 62 years ago – the state and all that we’ve built and created since,” he said.

Colosseum will open dungeons

ROME – Visitors to Rome’s Colosseum will next week for the first time have the chance to view some of its underground chambers, where gladiators once prepared for battle and lions were caged, officials said Thursday.

The first opening to the public of the underground dens and passageways – an area also known as the hypogeum – comes after careful restoration work.

The dungeons were “a place where for centuries thousands of people and animals passed before confronting death,” officials said.

Tourists will also be able to visit the ancient arena’s third upper tier, which had been closed since the ’70s.

“Only between 35 (percent) and 45 percent of the Colosseum had been accessible to the public, but now this has been doubled,” said Culture Ministry Undersecretary Francesco Maria Giro.

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