Res­cuers search de­bris af­ter

FRANCE

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

In­tel­li­gence has grow­ing list of sus­pected rad­i­cals

France’s do­mes­tic in­tel­li­gence chief says nearly 18,000 peo­ple are on French watch lists for rad­i­cal­ism, a grow­ing fig­ure. Lau­rent Nunez, head of the DGSI agency, is also warn­ing that the Is­lamic State group’s re­treat in the Mid­dle East “doesn’t weaken the level of threat” or di­min­ish the ex­trem­ists’ abil­ity to in­spire vi­o­lent at­tacks in the West via pro­pa­ganda. Speak­ing on RTL ra­dio Tues­day, he said “the wish of the Is­lamic State group and al-Qaida to launch an at­tack is in­tact,” though the cur­rent risk to France comes from home­grown ex­trem­ists in­stead of those who come from for­eign war zones. Nunez said that of the nearly 18,000 on watch lists, some 4,000 are un­der ac­tive sur­veil­lance. A num­ber of peo­ple who have car­ried out at­tacks in France in re­cent years had pre­vi­ously been flagged for rad­i­cal­ism.

Law­mak­ers warn of cus­toms chaos af­ter Brexit

A par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee is warn­ing of cat­a­strophic con­se­quences if Bri­tain fails to put a new cus­toms sys­tem in place be­fore the U.K. leaves the Euro­pean Union in 2019. The Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee re­leased a re­port Tues­day out­lin­ing the risk of “huge dis­rup­tion” for busi­ness, with bor­der de­lays caus­ing “mas­sive back­ups” at the port of Dover and food rot­ting in trucks if the sys­tem doesn’t work prop­erly. The Rev­enue and Cus­toms Ser­vice be­gan de­vel­op­ing the new sys­tem be­fore last year’s vote to leave the EU, and it is sched­uled to be op­er­a­tional by Jan­uary 2019. The com­mit­tee says meet­ing this dead­line is cru­cial be­cause Brexit may lead to a five­fold in­crease in cus­toms dec­la­ra­tions. The dire warn­ing comes as leg­is­la­tion on Bri­tain’s with­drawal from the EU re­turns to Par­lia­ment on Tues­day.

Res­cuers on Tues­day used back­hoes and heavy equip­ment to dig through the de­bris of build­ings top­pled by a pow­er­ful earth­quake on the bor­der be­tween Iran and Iraq, with weep­ing women cry­ing out to God as aid work­ers found new bod­ies.

The grim work be­gan in earnest again at dawn in the Kur­dish town of Sar­pol-e-Za­hab in the western Ira­nian prov­ince of Ker­man­shah, which ap­pears to be the hard­est hit in the mag­ni­tude 7.3 earth­quake that struck Sun­day night.

Both res­cuers and lo­cal res­i­dents alike stood atop the re­mains of apart­ment com­plexes, look­ing through the rub­ble. They used heavy blan­kets to carry away corpses.

The hos­pi­tal in Sar­pol-e-Za­hab was heav­ily dam­aged, and the army set up field hos­pi­tals, al­though many of the in­jured were moved to other ci­ties, in­clud­ing Tehran.

The quake also dam­aged an army gar­ri­son and build­ings in the bor­der city and killed an un­spec­i­fied num­ber of sol­diers, ac­cord­ing to re­ports.

There are fears more dead could be in the rub­ble in Sar­pol-e-Za­hab and other ru­ral vil­lages of Ker­man­shah prov­ince. Mo­ham­mad Ali Mon­shizadeh, a spokesman for the provin­cial foren­sic depart­ment, said pos­si­bly as many as 150 peo­ple were buried by fam­ily mem­bers af­ter the earth­quake in re­mote vil­lages who had not been counted in the of­fi­cial death toll, the semi-of­fi­cial ISNA news agency re­ported.

Iran’s Red Cres­cent also said it wor­ried about more bod­ies in ru­ral vil­lages, though it said the res­cue op­er­a­tions in larger towns could end soon.

Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani ar­rived in Ker­man­shah prov­ince on Tues­day to see the dam­age for him­self and of­fer his sup­port to those af­fected.

“This was a pain for all Ira­ni­ans,” Rouhani said, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment on the pres­i­dency’s web­site. “Rep­re­sent­ing the na­tion of Iran, I of­fer my con­do­lences to the peo­ple of Ker­man­shah, and tell them that all of us are be­hind Ker­man­shah.”

Iran’s For­eign Min­is­ter Mo­ham­mad Javad Zarif of­fered his thanks to for­eign coun­tries of­fer­ing to help but wrote on Twit­ter: “For now, we are able to man­age with our own re­sources.”

Cleric Ab­dol­hos­sein Moezi, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Supreme Leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei who also is tour­ing the area, said there was a need for more re­lief ma­te­rial and “se­cu­rity.” That was echoed by Nazar Barani, the mayor of the town of Ezgeleh, who told state TV on Tues­day his con­stituency still had a “deep need” for food, medicine and tents. He said 80 per­cent of the build­ings in the town had been dam­aged by the quake.

Many of the heav­ily dam­aged com­plexes in Sar­pol-e-Za­hab were part of con­struc­tion projects un­der for­mer hard-line Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad. The newly home­less slept out­side in cold, hud­dled around makeshift fires for warmth.

The quake killed 430 peo­ple in Iran and in­jured 7,460, state me­dia re­ported Tues­day. Most of the in­juries were mi­nor with fewer than 1,000 still hos­pi­tal­ized, Iran’s cri­sis man­age­ment head­quar­ters spokesman Behnam Saeedi told state TV.

The of­fi­cial death toll came from provin­cial foren­sic au­thor­i­ties based on death cer­tifi­cates is­sued. Some re­ports said unau­tho­rized buri­als with­out cer-

Fal­low deer stand on a meadow as the sun rises near Frank­furt, Ger­many Pho­to­graph: AP

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