An alleged Turkish al-Qaida militant told a court Monday that he did meet with a top aide to Osama bin Laden who proposed an attack in Turkey but that he denies any involvement in last year's suicide bombings in Istanbul.
Baki Yigit told an Istanbul court that he and the suspected mastermind of the suicide bombings, Habib Akdas, met with bin Laden lieutenant Abu Hafs al-Masri in Kandahar, Afghanistan, prior to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The trio discussed a variety of options for terrorist strikes in Turkey, Yigit testified.
He said the men also later chatted with bin Laden himself. "We just talked," Yigit said. ". . . We didn't form any organization."
Standing trial here are 69 people accused of involvement in the attacks, which killed 60 people. Monday, 47 suspects appeared in court. Judges agreed to release two suspects, accused of minor roles in the attacks, before adjourning until Feb. 14.
COUNCIL VOTES TO TRANSFER BOSNIA PEACE ROLE TO EU
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Monday to transfer peacekeeping duties in Bosnia from the NATO-led force to the European Union next month and called for all war crimes suspects to surrender.
The transfer will mean the withdrawal of more than 1,000 American troops serving in Bosnia as part of the NATO force. They will be replaced by EU personnel, with the biggest contingent coming from Finland.
British Maj. Gen. David Leakey, who will command the new European Union Force, known as EUFOR, said the Europeans will take over Dec. 2.
MILITARY OFFICER ACCUSED OF SHOOTING WOUNDED GIRL
JERUSALEM (AP) - Military prosecutors have issued a five-count indictment against an Israeli officer who comrades say repeatedly shot a wounded 13-year-old Palestinian girl to make sure that she was dead, a military spokeswoman said Monday.
The spokeswoman said the officer was charged with two counts of illegally using his weapon and one count each of obstruction of justice, conduct unbecoming an officer and improper use of authority. The officer, who has been suspended, was not identified.
Israeli soldiers fired at the girl, Iyman Hams, as she approached a military observation post near the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 5. The soldiers said they thought she was planting a bomb. The girl's family said she was on her way to school.
According to the indictment, the officer approached the girl after she was shot and fired two rounds at her from close range, in an outlawed practice known as "verifying the kill."