Libyan Rebels Make Gains Near Tunisian Border, Two Photographers Killed
Libyan rebel fighters carry out a comrade wounded during an effort to dislodge some ensconced government loyalist troops who were firing on them from a building during house-to-house fighting on Tripoli Street in downtown Misrata April 20, 2011. This photo was taken shortly before Hondros and Tim Hetherington were killed. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
Amid an almost two-month siege of the western city of Misrata by government troops, Libyan rebels say they have captured Dhuheiba, a post near the Tunisian border, after a three-day battle. Foreign journalists have had limited access in western Libya, which is still largely controlled by forces loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Britain, France and Italy have said they will send small teams of military advisers into the area to provide tactical advice — although leaders were quick to point out this did not amount to arming the rebels.
British Prime Minister David Cameron defended the move, saying it did not indicate the first steps toward a ground war. The United States is sending $25 million in equipment, including armor, tents and vehicles but is not providing arms to the rebels.
In Misrata, the site of intense fighting and a humanitarian crisis, two photographers were killed Tuesday in an attack by Gadhafi’s forces. Tim Hetherington, who co-directed the Oscar-nominated documentary “Restrepo” about troops in Afghanistan, and Chris Hondros, a photographer for Getty Images who had been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his work, had both been covering the humanitarian crisis and military clashes in Misrata.
Japan Bans Entry Within 12 Miles of Fukushima Plant
Though the evacuation order has been in place since shortly after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Japan made entry into the exclusion zone near the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant illegal, effective midnight Thursday. Anyone who enters the area is now subject to a fine equivalent to $1200 and up to a month in jail.
Residents, who have not been able to return to their homes in over a month, rushed back to pick up belongings, risking temporary exposure to radiation from the nearby plant. Many were evacuated after the initial quake and had no time to pack before going to temporary shelters.
Pakistani Army Calls U.S. Claim ‘Negative Propaganda’
One day after Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen described Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency as having ties to the Haqqani network, the Pakistani army categorized his remark as part of “negative propaganda.”
The Haqqani network, which is centered in northwest Pakistan, is responsible for heavy casualties inside Afghanistan and is considered a wing of the Taliban. ISI leaders claim to have cut ties with the group, but Mullen told GEO TV, “The ISI has a long-standing relationship with the Haqqani network. That doesn’t mean everybody in the ISI, but it’s there.”
Relations between the United States and Pakistan have been especially strained by the arrest of CIA contractor Raymond Davis, who shot two Pakistanis in what he called a robbery attempt, and the use of drone attacks. Pakistan recently said the United States should scale back its covert activities within Pakistan.
Indonesia Police Find Massive Bomb Near Church, 19 Arrested
Days before Good Friday celebrations were set to begin, police near the capital of Jakarta found a 330-pound bomb buried under a church. Nineteen suspects were arrested. Police had been tipped off by suspects already arrested in connection with a series of mail bombs.
In recent months, militants have stepped up attacks on police and other targets, including Christian churches, amid increased efforts by police to crack down on extremists. Last week, 28 were injured during a suicide bombing at a mosque.