A new round of violence—the worst to hit the province in a decade—broke out in Belfast Sept. 10 following a decision to restrict an Orange Order parade. Police said surveillance footage of that violence showed paramilitaries armed with automatic weapons and explosive devices, and members of the Orange Order attacking police and orchestrating the violence.
Despite repeated denials by Prime Minister Tony Blair that the Iraq war made the UK a target for terrorists, a letter from Michael Jay, the Foreign Office permanent under-secretary, to the cabinet secretary, Sir Andrew Turnbull—obtained by the UK Observer—makes the connection clear.
On Aug. 24 unknown gunmen fired shots at an Oslo restaurant owned by the family of a Pakistani-born woman comedian who has won notoriety for lampooning conservative Islam. Shabana Rehman, the 28-year-old comediene whose sister owns the restaurant, called the incident as “an appalling act of terror" and said it would not deter her from continuing her work. The shots, fired at around 4:00 AM, struck the windows of the restaurant. Nobody was injured.
Family representatives and advocates for Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian man shot dead on the London Underground, are accusing Scotland Yard of misrepresenting the circumstances of his killing. A police report leaked to the British press leak reveals that eyewitnesses saw de Menezes being held by officers in his seat before being shot in the head. Initial police accounts of his death claimed he ran from officers, vaulted a ticket barrier and was shot on the floor of the train car.
The UK is moving swiftly to implement its pledged expulsion of "preachers of hate," launching early-morning raids Aug. 11 to round up 10 Muslim militants. The 10 face deportation to their countries of origin under new anti-terrorism measures outlined by Prime Minister Tony Blair last week. Among those detained is Abu Qatada, a cleric often described as al-Qaeda's "spiritual ambassador" in Europe. Britain seeks to deport Abu Qatada to Jordan, where he has been tried in absentia and sentenced to life imprisonment in connection with various alleged terrorist plots. Britain assures that it has secured an agreement from Jordan's government guaranteeing that deportees will not be tortured or executed. Blair said his government is seeking similar agreements with other Middle East nations.
Kosovo's Albanian-led interim regime has issued a "Plan B" for administrative decentralization following the recent rejection of the original pilot project by local Serb leaders. Kosovo's minister for local self-government, Lutfi Haziri, said Serb objections had been taken into account, compromising on the boundaries of internal districts. The government gave Serb political leaders until Aug. 10 to say whether they will accept the revised plan. If they reject it, the government will revert to its original pilot project. But Oliver Ivanovic, a leader of the Serbian Lists for Kosovo and Metohija, said that Serb representatives do not recognize any deadline for reaching their decision. (RFE/RL Newsline, Aug. 10) Kosovo's government is under international pressure to do more for minority rights and democracy before a decision on whether "final status" talks can start this year. A major issue is decentralising power to Serbs, who live in enclaves guarded by NATO-led peacekeepers. (Reuters, Aug. 10)
Haroon Rashid Aswat, a suspect in the London bombings, is in a British prison after having been extradited from Zambia. Authorities assert that he met with Osama bin Laden at a training camp in Afghanistan. He may also face extradition to the US on charges of seeking to establish a terrorist camp in Oregon. (London Times, Aug. 9)
A top Bosnian Serb war crimes fugitive wanted by the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia for atrocities during the 1992-95 Bosnia war was arrested in Argentina Aug. 8. Milan Lukic, who went underground after the war ended, is being held in a Buenos Aires jail. Lukic was indicted on several counts of crimes against humanity by the tribunal at The Hague in 2000. A Belgrade court also convicted him for the 1992 slaying of 16 Muslims and later sentenced him in absentia to 20 years in prison.