In brief: Afghan soldier kills U.S. Marine
KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan soldier killed one U.S. Marine and wounded another before being shot to death in return fire in southern Afghanistan, the latest in a series of attacks against foreigners blamed on government forces working with coalition troops.
In another sign of deteriorating security, the United States is considering abandoning plans for a consulate in the country’s north because the building chosen was deemed too dangerous to occupy. The U.S. spent $80 million on the project despite glaring security deficiencies in the former hotel, according to a copy of a document drafted by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
The Afghan soldier opened fire on international troops in the Tarekh Naver in the Marjah district, said a spokesman for the governor of Helmand province.
A senior U.S. defense official in Washington said Sunday that the victim was a U.S. Marine in Helmand province, and that one other Marine was wounded. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the attack is under investigation, had no other details.
Israel’s premier calls early elections
JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed Sunday that he is moving to dismantle what has been considered one of the more stable coalition governments in Israel’s history and calling early elections in September.
The decision to move up balloting originally scheduled for next year came as little surprise; it had been rumored for months. Yet it marked a premature end to Netanyahu’s right-wing government, which many expected to survive a full four-year term – a rarity in a country where most governments have lasted about 2 1/2 years.
The move had some Israelis scratching their heads because it was not precipitated by a political scandal or fractured coalition, which typically lead to an early vote. Instead it appears to be a strategic decision by Netanyahu, with the support of the major political parties.
Al-Qaida releases video of American
WASHINGTON – In a video released Sunday by al-Qaida, American hostage Warren Weinstein said he will be killed unless President Barack Obama agrees to the militant group’s demands.
“My life is in your hands, Mr. President,” Weinstein said in the video. “If you accept the demands, I live; if you don’t accept the demands, then I die.”
Weinstein was abducted last August in Lahore, Pakistan, after gunmen tricked his guards and broke into his home. The 70-year-old from Rockville, Md., is the country director in Pakistan for J.E. Austin Associates, a Virginia-based firm that advises a range of Pakistani business and government sectors.
In a video message posted on militant websites in December, al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri said Weinstein would be released if the United States stopped airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. He also demanded the release of all al-Qaida and Taliban suspects around the world.
Rebels said to be holding French journalist
BOGOTA, Colombia – A man identifying himself as a squadron commander in Colombia’s main chief rebel force says the insurgents are holding a French journalist who has been missing for a week.
Independent journalist Karl Penhaul released a video clip on YouTube of a statement by the man that he says was recorded Saturday.
It shows armed men and women in fatigues in a jungle area.
The rebel says they are from the 15th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and that it captured Romeo Langlois in a 7-hour firefight on April 28.
Langlois was accompanying government forces on a cocaine lab-destruction mission.
The rebel said “we hope to quickly overcome this impasse.”