Addis Ababa, Ethiopa – Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia’s longtime ruler and a major U.S. counter-terrorism ally who is credited with economic gains but blamed for human rights abuses, died of an undisclosed illness after not being seen in his East African country for weeks, Ethiopian authorities said Tuesday. He was 57.
Meles died in a Belgian hospital Monday just before midnight after contracting an infection, authorities said.
Hailemariam Desalegn, who was appointed deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs in 2010, became acting prime minister and will be sworn in as prime minister after an emergency meeting of parliament, said Bereket Simon, the communications minister.
Parliament is controlled by Meles’ ruling party and governing coalition, ensuring Hailemariam will be approved. No new elections will be scheduled, Bereket said.
Rockets damage general’s C-17
Kabul, Afghanistan – An insurgent rocket attack damaged the plane of the top U.S. general as it sat parked at a coalition base in Afghanistan on Tuesday, dealing another blow to the image of progress in building a stable country as foreign forces work to wind down the 10-year-old war.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the two rockets that landed near the C-17 transport plane that U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, flew into Bagram Air Field north of Kabul a day earlier.
Jamie Graybeal, a spokesman for the U.S. military and the international coalition, said Dempsey was in his staff quarters when the two rockets landed and was unhurt in the attack. But the damage to the plane forced Dempsey to use another aircraft for his flight from Bagram to Iraq on Tuesday.
Two aircraft maintenance workers were slightly wounded by shrapnel, and a nearby helicopter was damaged, Graybeal said.