WASHINGTON — The FBI and Homeland Security have issued a nationwide warning about al-Qaida threats to small airplanes, just days before the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Authorities say there is no specific or credible terrorist threat for the 10-year anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. But they have stepped up security nationwide as a precaution.
According to a five-page law enforcement bulletin issued Friday, as recently as early this year, al-Qaida was considering ways to attack airplanes.
The alert, issued ahead of the summer’s last busy travel weekend, said terrorists have considered renting private planes and loading them with explosives.
The bulletin also says al-Qaida would like to use sympathetic Westerners to get flight training, then get them to become flight instructors.
Katia strengthens to Category 2 in Atlantic
MIAMI — The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Katia has strengthened to a Category 2 storm in the open Atlantic.
There are still no watches or warnings in effect and it’s too soon to know if it will threaten land. Forecasters warned that Bermuda could begin seeing strong surf and rip currents this week.
At 5 p.m. Sunday, the storm’s center was about 365 miles northeast of the Northern Leeward Islands and moving northwest at 12 mph.
It had sustained maximum winds that jumped up to 105 mph after wavering earlier in the morning between a tropical storm and weak hurricane status.
Forecasters expect Katia to strengthen further and said it could be a major hurricane by Monday.
Libya rebels: talks for loyalist town have failed
TARHOUNA, Libya — Negotiations over the surrender of one of Moammar Gadhafi’s remaining strongholds have collapsed, and Libyan rebels were waiting for the green light to launch their final attack on the besieged town of Bani Walid, a spokesman said.
Rebel negotiator Abdullah Kanshil said the talks had broken down after Moussa Ibrahim, Gadhafi’s chief spokesman and a top aide, had insisted the rebels put down their weapons before entering the town, some 90 miles southeast of Tripoli.
Rebel forces control most of the oil-rich North African nation and are already setting up a new government, but Gadhafi and his staunchest allies remain on the run and enjoy support in several central and southern areas, including Bani Walid and the fugitive leader’s hometown of Sirte.
24 killed as Syrian security forces continue crackdown
DAMASCUS, Syria — At least 24 people were killed Sunday across Syria, as the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross sought to pressure the government to ensure medical access to injured and jailed people.
Activists based in Lebanon said security forces killed 12 people Sunday in northwestern and central Syria.
The Syrian state-run news agency SANA said an “armed terrorist group” ambushed a bus in central Syria, killing 12, including six soldiers.
The violence came as Red Cross President Jakob Kellenberger met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem to discuss care for the sick and injured. Kellenberger’s two-day visit, which is to include talks with President Bashar Assad, will also focus on Red Cross access to detainees in Syrian prisons.
Typhoon dumps record rain on Japan, killing 20
TOKYO — Typhoon Talas dumped record amounts of rain Sunday in western and central Japan, killing at least 20 people and stranding thousands more as it turned towns into lakes, washed away cars and triggered mudslides that obliterated houses. At least 50 people were missing, local media reported.
Evacuation orders and advisories were issued to 460,000 people in the region, which is hundreds of miles from the country’s tsunami-ravaged northeastern coast.
At least 3,600 people were stranded by flooded rivers, landslides and collapsed bridges that were hampering rescue efforts, Kyodo News agency reported.