In brief: Israel: Shipment held 40 rockets
EILAT, Israel – Israel’s military said Sunday that a cargo ship it intercepted in the Red Sea last week carried 40 rockets with a range of up to 100 miles.
Israel has alleged the shipment was orchestrated by Iran and was intended for Islamic militants in Gaza, a claim denied by Iran and the rockets’ purported recipients.
An Egyptian security official said Sunday the rockets also might have been intended for militants in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, which borders Gaza. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.
Neither Israel nor Egypt provided evidence for their claims. Questions remain, including how the rockets would have been smuggled into Gaza, largely cut off from the world by a border blockade enforced by Israel and Egypt.
Vice president, ex-commander dies
KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghanistan’s influential Vice President Mohammad Qasim Fahim, a leading commander in the alliance that fought the Taliban who was later accused with other warlords of targeting civilian areas during the country’s civil war, died Sunday. He was 57.
Fahim was an ethnic Tajik who was the top deputy of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the charismatic Northern Alliance commander who was killed in an al-Qaida suicide bombing two days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He died a month before Afghans go to the polls to choose a new president to replace Hamid Karzai, who is barred from seeking a third consecutive term.
Karzai’s office said Fahim – who held the rank of field marshal and had survived several assassination attempts – died of natural causes.
Kim Jong Un elected by unanimous vote
PYONGYANG, North Korea – With no one else on the ballot, state media reported today that supreme leader Kim Jong Un was not only elected to the highest legislative body in North Korea, he won with the unanimous approval of his district, which had 100 percent turnout.
North Koreans went to the polls Sunday to approve the new roster of deputies for the Supreme People’s Assembly, the country’s legislature. The vote, more a political ritual than an election by Western standards, is generally held once every five years.
Though results for the other seats in the assembly had not yet been announced, North Korea’s media quickly reported Kim had won in his district – located on the symbolic Mount Paekdu – without a single dissenting ballot.
In the previous elections, 687 deputies were chosen. This is first time the election had been held since Kim inherited power after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, in 2011.