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March 29, 2010 at 12:11 PM   |   Comments

Militia accused of prepping to battle U.S.

DETROIT, March 29 (UPI) -- Members of a U.S. militia group were accused of planning to wage a war against the United States, an indictment unsealed Monday in Detroit said.

The five-count indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court alleged that since August 2008 the defendants were trying to use bombs and other weapons to oppose the U.S. government, The Detroit News reported.

The eight men and one woman are members of the Hutaree organization, described in the indictment as an "anti-government extremist organization." Each person arrested faces between three and five charges, including sedition, attempts to use weapons of mass destruction, teaching and/or demonstrating use of explosive materials and carrying weapons in relation to a crime of violence.

Eight people were in custody, officials said. Federal officials conducted raids this weekend in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana,

"This is an example of radical and extremist fringe groups which can be found throughout our society," said Andrew Arena, FBI special agent in charge, said of the Lenawee County, Mich., militia group. "The FBI takes such extremist groups seriously, especially those who would target innocent citizens and the law enforcement officers who protect the citizens of the United States."

The indictment unsealed Monday said the organization was plotting to kill a law enforcement officer to "prompt a response by law enforcement," hoping to "intimidate and demoralize law enforcement, diminishing their ranks and rendering them ineffective."

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said Hutaree members planned a possible attack during the funeral procession with improvised explosive devices rigged with projectiles, which constitute weapons of mass destruction, the Detroit Free Press said.

"Because the Hutaree had planned a covert reconnaissance operation for April which had the potential of placing an unsuspecting member of the public at risk, the safety of the public and of the law enforcement community demanded intervention at this time," McQuade said.

Hutaree says on its Web site it is "preparing for the end-time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive."


Female suicide bombers hit Moscow subway

MOSCOW, March 29 (UPI) -- Explosions set off by female suicide bombers hit two Moscow subway stations during the morning rush hour Monday, killing at least 37 people, officials said.

"It was a terrorist act carried out by ... female suicide bombers," said Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, citing Russia's intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service, CNN reported.

The blasts "were specifically timed to make the most damage," he said.

In Washington, the White House issued a statement in which President Barack Obama extended his sympathies and condemned the violence.

"The American people stand united with the people of Russia in opposition to violent extremism and heinous terrorist attacks that demonstrate such disregard for human life, and we condemn these outrageous acts," Obama said.

Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry said at least 65 people were injured in the explosions, the first striking the capital's Lubyanka subway station, followed by a blast at the Park Kultury station on the same train line. The Lubyanka station is near the Kremlin and Russia's FSB, which replaced the former Soviet Union's KGB intelligence force.

CNN reported a Web site associated with Chechen separatists claimed responsibility for the attacks. Russia has been fighting Islamist militants in Chechnya and other areas in the Caucasus.

After the explosions, security was tightened across Russia, Russian information agency RIA Novosti reported.

"It is difficult to prevent such terrorist attacks and to provide security on transport," Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said. "It is necessary to tighten up what we do and to look at the problem on a national scale. Obviously, what we have done before is not enough."

Medvedev pledged Russia "will fight terrorism without hesitation and to the end," The New York Times reported.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he had no doubt the organizers behind Monday's explosions would be punished, RIA Novosti reported.

"It is well known that today a terrible crime against civilians in its effects and disgusting in its character was carried out," Putin said. "I am sure that police will do their best to find and punish the criminals. The terrorists will be destroyed."


Diplomat: China will attend nuclear summit

WASHINGTON, March 29 (UPI) -- China plans to send a delegation to the Nuclear Security Summit to be hosted in Washington next month by U.S. President Barack Obama, a Chinese diplomat said.

"But it's not decided yet as to who will head the Chinese delegation," said Wang Baodong, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington.

More than 40 countries were invited to the summit and China has yet to officially let the White House know if it will attend, The Washington Post reported Monday.

U.S. officials had assumed China would not participate because of its opposition to a $6.4 billion weapons sale by the United States to Taiwan that was announced in January. Other policy experts said China may still be deciding how it can take part and who to send.

"China is going to have to weigh its desire to punish the United States with its own desire to send a signal to the world that they are a responsible player that need not be viewed as threatening," said Christopher Twomey, an analyst at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.

China has an estimated 800 nuclear warheads. The United States has more than 2,000 deployed long-range warheads and about 5,000 working warheads.


North Korea's leader may visit China

SEOUL, March 29 (UPI) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's visit to North Pyongan Province has fueled diplomatic speculation he may be en route to China, officials said.

The province is near North Korea's border with China.

Kim, who rarely travels, reportedly is afraid of flying and in recent years has visited only Russia and China because they are contiguous to North Korea, which allows him to travel in his luxurious train, officials said.

Chinese diplomats earlier this month suggested Kim might travel to China, a visit that could indicate he is ready to resume international talks on dismantling his country's nuclear facilities, Yonhap New Agency reported Monday.

North Korea needs economic assistance from China and rejoining the so-called six-party talks, with China as host, could assure North Korea of aid and allow China to boast of a diplomatic coup, South Korea diplomats have said.

Denuclearization talks with North Korea last were held in December 2008 with South Korea, China, the United States, Japan and Russia.

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