Medvedev Blames Airport Security, Lebanese Riot as Hezbollah Picks Leader
Police officers patrol Moscow’s Domodedovo international airport after Monday’s explosion. Photo by Oxana Onipko/AFP/Getty Images.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had harsh words for officials at Domodedovo airport one day after at least once suicide bomber detonated an estimated 11 to 15 pounds of TNT. Thirty-five people died in the explosion, which took place in an unsecured arrivals area of Moscow’s busiest airport.
Medvedev said he found it “unbelievable that such a huge amount of explosives were brought into the terminal. Those officials responsible for security at Domodedovo must be punished for their decisions.” The site of the bombing, outside of customs in an area where drivers or friends can come in and meet passengers, is not behind a security perimeter as in most airports.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although past suicide bombings have been blamed on Chechen separatist rebels.
Riots in Lebanon After Hezbollah-Backed Candidate Is Named Prime Minister
A Lebanese soldier disperses burning tires set alight by supporters of the Future Movement in a neighborhood in the capital Beirut during a demonstration in support of the caretaker prime minister Saad Hariri on Jan. 25, 2011. (AFP/Getty Images)
President Michel Suleiman has named businessman Najib Mikati prime minister-designate, a move that sparked angry protests in the Lebanese city of Tripoli as thousands of demonstrators expressed their support for Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
Hezbollah, the Shiite militant and political organization backed by Iran, withdrew from the unity government earlier this month, forcing a political crisis while the U.S.-favored Hariri was visiting the White House. The boycott was spurred by the United Nations’ investigation into the assassination of Hariri’s father, Rafik Hariri, in 2005. Hezbollah views the tribunal as a conspiracy to hold it responsible for his death.
Addressing his supporters in a televised speech, Saad Hariri said, “[T]his anger should not lead us to what disagrees with our values…our belief that democracy is our refuge.”
Mikati said that despite their support, he was a moderate politicians not part of the Hezbollah organization.
First Guantanamo Suspect Tried in Civilian Court to be Sentenced
Ahmed Ghailani, held in connection with the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, will be sentenced Tuesday after being found guilty on charges of conspiracy. He was acquitted of murder charges in the attacks that killed 224 people.
The verdict carries a minimum sentence of 20 years, but Ghailani is expected to receive a life sentence. His lawyers argued that he had been tortured during interrogation, tainting his conviction.
Ghailani’s trial in New York City was seen as a possible model for handling similar cases involving Guantanamo detainees. President Obama made shuttering the detention center on the U.S. naval base in Cuba a campaign promise, but has faced opposition to doing so. More than 170 suspects are held there.
Bus Explosion Kills 4 in Philippines
A bus approaching a busy commuter terminal in Manila exploded, killing four people and injuring 14 more in what Philippine officials are calling an act of terrorism. Though no group has yet come forward to claim responsibility, the government has been fighting Muslim separatists and the al-Qaeda associated Abu Sayyaf organization, which has been responsible for past bombings and kidnappings.
The United States had issued a travel warning for the Philippines in November, based on possible terrorist activities.
President Benigno Aquino III said his government would track down those responsible, and that they would “not allow this situation where there is fear among the people to continue.”