Blasts kill at least 17 in Baghdad - police, medics
BAGHDAD Three blasts killed at least 17 people and wounded more than 50 in predominantly Shi'ite Muslim districts of Baghdad on Tuesday, police and medical sources said.
BRUSSELS A leading suspect sought in connection with the Paris attacks hid in a Brussels apartment for some three weeks, the Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure (DH) wrote on Friday, citing sources close to the investigation.
Salah Abdeslam, whose brother blew himself up in Paris and who returned to Belgium the day after the attacks, is suspected of helping to equip the gunmen and suicide bombers who killed 130 people in Paris on Nov. 13 and may have taken part himself.
Surveillance footage at a petrol station showed him returning by car to Belgium a day later. He avoided capture when French police checked his papers shortly before he was listed as wanted. Authorities have been searching for him ever since.
DH dismissed a theory, put forward by public broadcaster RTBF, that he may have slipped through a Belgian police cordon in the Brussels district of Molenbeek hidden in a car or even inside a piece of furniture.
"At that moment, Salah was on the other side of town in Schaerbeek," DH wrote in its Friday edition. "And it wasn't for a short stay as had been believed until now, but he stayed for three weeks."
A spokesman for Belgium's federal prosecutor declined to comment on the story.
The apartment referred to by DH was rented under a false name and searched in December. Investigators found material that could be used to make explosives, traces of explosive acetone peroxide and handmade belts as well as Abdeslam's fingerprint.
(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek, editing by Larry King)
THE HAGUE War crimes judges on Tuesday sentenced a former Islamist rebel who admitted wrecking holy shrines during Mali's 2012 conflict to nine years in prison, in the first such case to focus on destruction of cultural heritage.
BAKU Azerbaijan has voted in favour of extending the presidential term from five to seven years, election authorities said on Tuesday, a step that critics say will hand unprecedented powers to President Ilham Aliyev who has led the country since 2003.