Danish soldiers killed

COPENHAGEN: Three Danish soldiers were killed on Wednesday when a bomb exploded as their vehicle passed in the southern Afghanistan province of Helmand, the Danish military said. The three victims were leading a convoy down Highway 1 heading toward the town of Barakhzai, the military said. Danish Defence Minister Soeren Gade said he was “saddened by this new tragedy.” Those killed were to have ended their mission in August. — AFP

Hamas speaker

RAMALLAH: The detained Hamas speaker of the Palestinian parliament is to be released after an Israeli military tribunal refused to keep him behind bars beyond his sentence, his lawyer said on Wednesday. The court at the Ofer military base near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank rejected an application by prosecutors to keep Aziz Dweik behind bars after his three-year sentence ran out. Dweik was arrested by Israeli forces at his Ramallah home in August 2006. — AFP

Minister’s mea culpa

JERUSALEM: Israel’s public security minister has apologised after making a perceived racist slur to an undercover police officer. Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch’s office said the minister was accompanying police officers on a tour of a run-down Tel Aviv neighbourhood on Tuesday when he was approached by what appeared to be two Arab drug addicts in dirty clothes. The two “addicts” turned out to be undercover Israeli police officers working to catch drug dealers. Aharonovitch’s office said the minister was impressed by the policemen’s disguises and said one of them looked like an “Arabush” — a derogatory Hebrew slang term for Arab.

On Wednesday the minister issued an apology, saying his remark was intended as a compliment for their work. — AP

Lanka attack suspect

LAHORE: Pakistani police said on Wednesday they had arrested one of seven men accused of plotting the deadly attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in the eastern city of Lahore in March. Six policemen and two civilians were killed and seven Sri Lankan squad members were injured when militants launched a gun and grenade attack on the team as they travelled to a match on March 3. Lahore police chief Pervez Rathor identified the suspect as Zubair, also known by his alias Nek Mohammad, who appeared at the televised press conference in Pakistan’s cultural hub Lahore with his face covered. — AFP