LAGOS, Nigeria – Islamic extremists Saturday claimed responsibility for the massive rush-hour explosion earlier this week that ripped through a busy bus station in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, killing at least 75 people and wounding 141.
Monday’s explosion in Abuja, just a 15-minute drive from the presidential villa, was the first attack in two years on the capital, which is in the heart of the country and hundreds of miles from the militants’ traditional stronghold in the northeast. The toll is expected to rise when pathologists say how many people were blown apart by the mighty blast that blew a hole 4 feet deep in the dirt of the Nyanya Motor Park.
Drone strike kills 9 militants, 3 others
SANAA, Yemen – A U.S. drone strike in southern Yemen killed at least nine suspected al-Qaida militants and three civilians Saturday, authorities said, as part of America’s ongoing strikes in the country against what it considers the terror network’s most dangerous local group.
A Yemeni military official said the early Saturday strike struck a vehicle carrying the militants in the Sawmaa area in the al-Bayda province as another car carrying civilians passed by.
A security official investigating the strike said one of the civilian survivors said the strike hit a white SUV, tossing it some 20 yards away. He said the survivor said they fled the flying debris and took shelter while “explosions” continued for another 30 minutes.
Then, the survivor said, another drone landed near their car, killing one of his companions and wounding him.
U.S. troops may be sent to East Europe
WASHINGTON – The United States is considering deploying about 150 soldiers for military exercises to begin in Poland and Estonia in the next few weeks, a Western official said Saturday. The exercises would follow Russia’s buildup of forces near its border with Ukraine and its annexation last month of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said earlier this week that the U.S. is looking for ways to reassure its NATO allies of its strong commitment to collective defense.
Ground exercises in Poland and Estonia would last about two weeks but such exercises would continue on a rotating basis off and on over time, the official said, and other locations in Eastern Europe would be considered.
Key engineer in moon landing dies
SCARBOROUGH, Maine – John C. Houbolt, an engineer whose contributions to the U.S. space program were vital to NASA’s successful moon landing in 1969, has died. He was 95.
Houbolt died Tuesday at a nursing home in Scarborough, Maine, of complications from Parkinson’s disease, his son-in-law Tucker Withington, of Plymouth, Mass., confirmed Saturday.
As NASA describes on its website, while under pressure during the U.S.-Soviet space race, Houbolt was the catalyst in securing U.S. commitment to the science and engineering theory that eventually carried the Apollo crew to the moon and back safely.
His efforts in the early 1960s are largely credited with convincing NASA to focus on the launch of a module carrying a crew from lunar orbit, rather than a rocket from Earth or a spacecraft while orbiting the planet.