Suicide bomber at funeral kills 47

A suicide attacker set off a bomb that tore through a funeral tent jammed with Shiite mourners yesterday, splattering blood and body parts over rows of overturned white plastic chairs. The attack, which killed 47 and wounded more than 100, came as Shiite and Kurdish politicians in Baghdad said they overcame a major stumbling block to forming a new coalition government.

The explosion, in a working class neighborhood of this northern city, tore through a large funeral tent pitched next to a smaller one on a grassy patch in the courtyard of a mosque. Survivors scrambled to get the wounded to a hospital, lugging them to ambulances and cars in blankets or prayer rugs as a strong smell of gunpowder filled the yard.

“As we were inside the mosque, we saw a ball of fire and heard a huge explosion,” said Tahir Abdullah Sultan, 45. “After that blood and pieces of flesh were scattered around the place.”

At first, some mourners thought it was an air strike — but once they smelled the gunpowder, they said they knew it was a suicide bombing.

Blood was spattered across the grass, car windows were shattered and survivors wailed as corpses were loaded onto the backs of pickup trucks.



Pakistan admits scientist sold arms to Iran

After years of denials, Pakistan admitted yesterday that its top nuclear scientist sold crucial equipment to Iran, but said it knew nothing of his activities when they occurred and insisted he will not be turned over to another country for prosecution.

The admission by the Pakistani information minister was the first public acknowledgment that Abdul Qadeer Khan provided Iran’s secret nuclear program with centrifuges, a crucial component needed to enrich uranium and produce nuclear material for warheads.

“Dr. Abdul Qadeer gave some centrifuges to Iran,” the minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “He helped Iran in his personal capacity, and the Pakistan government had nothing to do with it.”

Ahmed initially made the admission at a seminar in Islamabad organized by a local newspaper group, in which he stuck by Pakistan’s insistence that Khan would never be handed over to a third country for prosecution. The scientist is considered a hero by his countrymen for nearly single-handedly producing atomic bombs for Pakistan to counter rival India’s nuclear arsenal.



Annan: World treaty needed to define terror

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called yesterday for a world treaty on terrorism that would outlaw attacks targeting civilians and establish a framework for a collective response to the global threat.

Although the United Nations and its agencies already have 12 treaties covering terrorism, a universal definition has been elusive.

World leaders and officials have had deep disagreements over whether resisters to alleged oppression — for example, Palestinian suicide bombers attacking Israeli targets — are terrorists or freedom fighters; and whether states that use what they think is legitimate force might be branded terrorists.

“The right to resist occupation … cannot include the right to deliberately kill or maim civilians,” Annan told the conference on democracy, terrorism and security.



Islamic fundamentalist to lead Chechen rebels

An Islamic fundamentalist judge emerged yesterday as the likely successor to Chechen rebel commander Aslan Maskhadov, raising the prospect of the separatist conflict turning decisively into a religious war more than a decade after it first erupted.

Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev was backed both by supporters of Maskhadov — who was killed in a Russian raid Tuesday — and by Chechnya’s most feared warlord, Shamil Basayev.

Yesterday, Basayev urged his people to rally behind Sadulayev in a message on a separatist Web site.

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