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News Briefs

Six Yemenis Taken Off List in Terror Alert

THE WASHINGTON POST

The FBI Thursday removed six men from a list of 17 suspected terrorists identified in an extraordinary terrorism alert Monday after officials confirmed that the six were being held in Yemeni jails.

Five of the six men were shown in photographs distributed to law enforcement agencies and media worldwide as part of a warning that a suspected al-Qaida operative and his associates may have been planning attacks in the United States or Yemen. The warning said the men “should be considered extremely dangerous.”

FBI officials said they did not learn until Thursday that the six are apparently the same as those listed in Monday’s global alert, a law enforcement official said.

The five whose photographs were removed from the list were Issam Ahmad Dibwan Al-Makhlafi, Ahmad al-Akhader Nasser Albidani, Bashir Ali Nasser al-Sharari, Abdulaziz Muhammad Saleh bin Otash and Shuhour Abdullah Mukbil al-Sabri.

Palestinian Militants Bomb Tank; Three Israeli Soldiers Die

LOS ANGELES TIMES -- JERUSALEM

A powerful explosion ripped apart an Israeli tank in the Gaza Strip on Thursday night, killing three soldiers and wounding another, an army spokesman said.

The attack by militant Palestinians came as politicians and military analysts criticized the army’s incursion into several Gazan towns a day earlier as a failure. In the broadest operation in Gaza since the outbreak of fighting 16 1/2 months ago, dozens of tanks and hundreds of troops had swept into northern Gazan towns with the stated mission of thwarting Palestinian missile attacks on Israeli communities.

Eighteen hours later, the forces pulled out, and on Thursday the army said it had released all but two of 18 Palestinians arrested during the operation.

“We can only pray that what we saw in the last 24 hours in Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahiya and Deir al Balah is not really the IDF (Israel Defense Forces)” of today, military analyst Alex Fishman wrote in the newspaper Yediot Aharonot. “The real IDF is different: smarter, more creative and less clumsy.”

U.S. Coach Alleges Widespread Corruption in Skating

THE WASHINGTON POST -- SALT LAKE CITY

A former Russian Olympic medalist who is now a U.S. figure skating coach Thursday launched an unusual verbal attack on figure skating, saying the sport was dirty and rife with corruption and alleging that all national skating federations pressure judges and attempt to fix the results of competitions.

“All federations are involved, not only the Russians,” said Russian-born Alexander Zhulin, a 1994 Olympic silver medalist who now coaches U.S. ice dancers Naomi Lang and Peter Tchernyshev. “I think all judges from their home countries feel pressure from the person who is president, the people in the high posts. ... It’s like in life -- some people are strong, and some people are weak, and (the weak judges) just follow what their federation says. That’s corruption. ... It’s so dirty.”

His diatribe, uttered calmly and in measured tones shortly after his dance team practiced Thursday, came a day after it was reported that a French Olympic official said the French judge in Monday’s controversial pairs final had felt pressured to cast her vote for the Russian team, which won the gold medal by a 5-4 margin.