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Afghanistan bombing kills five civilians, wounds 77 US soldiers

By Tony Paterson

Five civilians were killed and nearly 80 US troops were injured when a suicide bomber struck in Afghanistan on the eve of yesterday's 9/11 anniversary. It was a graphic reminder of the continuing global effects of the attack and the US's response to it. In Sweden four people were arrested on suspicion of planning to bomb an international arts festival.

The Afghan attack was carried out by the Taliban on a military base in the country's eastern Wardak province. Nato said none of the injuries suffered by 77 US troops when the bomber detonated a truck packed with explosives was life-threatening. Rockets were also fired at the US military base in Bagram.

"We are here so there is never again another 9/11 coming from Afghanistan's soil," said Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador to Kabul after the attacks.

In Sweden police arrested four people on suspicion of planning to bomb an arts festival in the southern city of Gotheburg. More than 400 people were evacuated from the city's Röda Sten arts centre where a party was under way early on Sunday. Police gave no details about those detained.

Ceremonies worldwide paid tribute to the victims of 9/11, who came from 90 countries. In Japan families gathered in Tokyo in front of a piece of steel retrieved from Ground Zero to pay their respects to the 23 Fuji Bank employees who died in their office.

In Sydney more than 1,000 people turned out for a multi-faith service at the city's Roman Catholic Cathedral. Rae Tompsett, 81, who lost her 39-year-old son, Stephen, on the 106th floor said she felt no anger but "sorrow that the people who did this believed they were doing something good".

In Italy Pope Benedict XVI held an outdoor mass during which he urged the world to resist the "temptation toward hatred". The anniversary was also marked by ceremonies in Berlin, Rome and Paris, where plans were under way to unveil nine-storey replica of the Twin Towers bearing the names of the victims.

In India's north eastern state of Manipur relatives and friends said prayers in memory of Jupiter Yambem, a manager at the World Trade Centre's Windows on the World restaurant. His elder brother said that the assassination of Osama bin Laden by US special forces mean that his brother's soul could finally rest in peace.

"But the threat from al-Qaida has not ended," he added.

Belfast Telegraph


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