Divide over carnage

BAGHDAD: Powerful Shiite politicians and Iraq’s leading Sunni insurgency group on Friday accused each other of being responsible for massive truck bombings in Baghdad that killed 95 people two days ago. Statements from both sides exposed the gulf between the country’s two main Muslim groups in the wake of Wednesday’s attacks at the ministries of finance and foreign affairs, which also left about 600 people wounded. PM Nuri al-Maliki, a Shiite, said on Wednesday the bombings were “a desperate attempt to derail the political process and affect the parliamentary elections,” planned to take place in January 2010. — AFP

Hurricane advances

MIAMI: Bermuda was on alert on Friday as Hurricane Bill approached, spinning off life-threatening ocean swells in Puerto Rico and the island of Hispaniola and threatening to strengthen as it approached land. Still a Category Three storm, but “looking less organised,” Bill was

expected to pass over the open

waters between the United States

and Berm. — AFP

Five killed in blasts

GROZNY: Four suicide bombers riding bicycles on Friday staged an apparently coordinated string of attacks in the Chechen capital Grozny, killing four policemen, Russian officials said. “Today four suicide attackers, moving on bicycles... set off explosive devices in various districts of Grozny, as a result of which policemen were killed,” the investigative committee of Russian prosecutors said. - AFP

Typhoon fury

TAIPEI: More than 460 people were missing nearly two weeks after Typhoon Morakot hit Taiwan, unleashing floods and mudslides that left more than 150 confirmed dead, emergency officials said on Friday. The figures appeared to confirm President Ma Ying-jeou’s warnings that the disaster’s death toll was likely to exceed 500, with hundreds feared buried. The official death toll rose to 153 with an additional 464 missing, the National Fire Agency said in a statement. Most of the missing were from the worst-hit southern Kaohsiung county with 87 confirmed deaths, while 384 others were buried and feared dead in one village alone, it said. - AFP

16 dead in violence

MOGADISHU: Somali government forces clashed with hardline Shebab rebels in Mogadishu killing at least 16 people in bloody battles for control of the lawless country, witnesses said on Friday. The clashes in the capital’s southern districts followed a day

of fighting between pro-government forces and the extremist group in central Somalia that left at least

21 dead. — AFP