A London newspaper reported Saturday that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has made secret plans for his family and leading members of his regime to be given political asylum in Libya in the event of a war with the United States.
The article in the Times of London was later denied by Libyan Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassouna al-Shawish who labeled it "a fabrication," according to the official Libyan news agency, JANA.
Quoting unnamed diplomatic sources in Tripoli, the paper said Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had accepted a deal from Hussein to pay $3.5-billion into Libyan banks in return for the safe haven.
The paper said Gadhafi stopped short of agreeing to provide refuge for Hussein or for Uday, his eldest son. But it said that sanctuary would be provided to Hussein's extended family and around 12 senior officials of his Baghdad regime.
Syria had agreed to provide an overland escape route, allowing the Iraqis to fly on to Libya, the paper said.
Statement warns of more attacks on N.Y., D.C
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates _ A statement attributed to al-Qaida threatened more attacks in New York and Washington unless America stops supporting Israel and converts to Islam, an Arab TV reporter who received the unsigned document said Saturday.
Yosri Fouda, correspondent for the satellite station Al Jazeera, told the Associated Press he received the six-page document on Wednesday. That was a day after the TV station broadcast an audiotape purportedly made by Osama bin Laden.
Fouda said the statement called on Americans to stop supporting Israel and other governments that "oppress" Muslims or face more attacks. The statement also called on Americans to convert to Islam, he said.
Fouda quoted the statement as saying: "Stop your support for Israel against the Palestinians, for Russians against the Chechens . . . for corrupt leaders in our countries . . . (and) leave us alone or expect us in Washington and New York."
No officials were available for comment at the Pentagon or the National Security Council on Saturday.
Kuwait arrests senior al-Qaida member
Kuwait has custody of a member of al-Qaida who has confessed to planning the attack against a French tanker off the coast of Yemen last month and a car bomb attack that was to have been carried out against a hotel in the Yemeni capital, San'a, a senior Kuwaiti security official said Saturday.
The senior al-Qaida member was identified as Mohsen al-Fadhli, 21, a Kuwaiti citizen who was arrested with two other alleged Kuwaiti members of al-Qaida on Nov. 4. The official said Fadhli began talking on Monday, detailing both the planning of the tanker attack, which crippled the French-registered Limburg and killed one Bulgarian crew member, and an attack on a hotel used by U.S. military officials that was to have been carried out this month.
Iraq claims 7 killed
in allied airstrike
BAGHDAD, Iraq _ A U.S.-British airstrike in southern Iraq killed seven civilians and wounded four, Iraqi military said Saturday.
U.S. and British warplanes monitoring no-fly zones over southern and northern Iraq regularly attack Iraqi military facilities in what they say is response to hostile Iraqi fire.