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News Briefs 2

French Police Arrest Terrorists

Los Angeles Times
PARIS

In their first major breakthrough in the terrorist wave gripping France, police said Thursday they had foiled a bombing planned for this weekend and arrested several people, including an Algerian man overheard giving orders to plant the device.

Jean-Louis Debre, the French interior minister, hailed the arrests as "a new, decisive step toward neutralizing this group of terrorists." But, he added, "The threat remains. More attacks can still occur."

Police raided homes in Paris, Lille and Lyon on Wednesday night and Thursday, seizing guns, grenades and computers as well as a homemade bomb apparently intended to be detonated, perhaps in a car, at an open-air Sunday market in Lille, in northern France. Debre identified one of the 10 suspects in custody as "a central figure" in a three-city terrorist network.

The announcement was sure to give a boost to French efforts to end the carnage. The French government, which has stationed tens of thousands of heavily armed soldiers around Paris, has been increasingly frustrated by its inability to make important arrests or to prevent the attacks that have killed 7 and injured more than 170 since July.

U.S. Presses Demand for Ouster of Serb Leaders Karadzic and Mladic

Newsday
WASHINGTON

As Bosnian peace talks got formally under way in Dayton, Ohio, Thursday, the United States pressed a demand for the ouster of Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic before committing up to 25,000 troops to police a final agreement.

Meanwhile, the deployment plan itself came under criticism from a new quarter - NATO military experts - who strongly warned against sending in peacekeepers while arming and training one side, the Bosnian government.

Two recently retired NATO generals also challenged the Clinton administration's assumption that it could achieve the mission of securing peace if it insists on limiting the number of troops and setting a one-year term to the deployment.

The number of troops is a "top-down driven number" - predetermined - said retired Lt. Gen. Marvin Covault, former chief of staff of NATO's Mediterranean command. He said it is "extremely dangerous" to gear the mission and objectives to preset numbers and deployment.

Retired Gen. Charles Boyd, former deputy commander for the U.S. European command, echoed him. "If you're going to commit (troops), commit without a date to withdraw and without setting a (numerical) limit," he said. "Send what you need to do the job."

Both men, addressing the House National Security Committee, also urged the administration not to take sides or to arm and equip the Bosnian government army while U.S. troops are present in Bosnia as peacekeepers.