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U.S., Italy Consult Over Abu Abbas Extradition

The United States is consulting with Italy over its extradition request for Palestinian guerrilla leader Abu Abbas, seized by U.S. forces in Baghdad, a White House spokesman said on Thursday. “We are considering next steps right now, consulting with the Italian government,” U.S. National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack said. Abbas was convicted in absentia in Italy in 1986 and sentenced to life in prison for planning the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro. A disabled, elderly American Jewish passenger, Leon Klinghoffer, was shot and thrown overboard in the attack. Abbas, who was not on board the ship during the attack, later renounced violence and had lived mainly in Baghdad for the last 17 years. He was captured this week by U.S. troops occupying Iraq. The United States calls the capture a victory in President Bush’s fight against global terrorism. Full Story

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