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WORLD IN BRIEF

Wednesday, December 8, 2004; Page A24

Hamas Kills One in Gaza, Ending 3 Weeks of Calm

GAZA CITY -- Hamas militants broke three weeks of relative calm in Gaza on Tuesday, setting off a bomb in what they said was an elaborate scheme that included a tunnel and a double agent. The attack killed an Israeli soldier and triggered Israeli retaliation that killed four Palestinian gunmen.

Palestinian officials had hoped to stop attacks against Israelis in advance of the Jan. 9 election to replace Yasser Arafat, and Israel had refrained from military offensives in Gaza following Arafat's Nov. 11 death as a gesture to the interim leadership.

_____Special Report_____
Disarming Northern Ireland

Hamas claimed its men dug a tunnel to booby-trap a chicken coop, then lured troops to the area with the help of a double agent and detonated the bomb, killing an Israeli and his bomb-sniffing dog.

Europe

BELFAST -- The Irish Republican Army has reopened negotiations with Northern Ireland's disarmament chief, the outlawed group said, signaling its readiness to put more weapons out of commission for the first time in over a year.

The move came ahead of the planned unveiling by the leaders of Britain and Ireland of a joint peace package that has taken more than a year of negotiations to produce. But a major dispute over disarmament remains unresolved: Protestant leaders demand the IRA allow officials to photograph the removal of weapons.

Gerry Adams, leader of the IRA-linked Sinn Fein party, appeared to rule that out Tuesday when he said the IRA would not accept conditions designed to humiliate the group.

MOSCOW -- The main subsidiary of Yukos, the embattled Russian oil giant, has been hit with a new $1.2 billion tax bill for 2003, a Russian news agency reported.

Interfax, citing an unidentified source at the Russian tax agency, said the tax bill was levied last Friday against Yuganskneftegaz, which pumps more than 60 percent of Yukos's oil. Yuganskneftegaz has become the focal point of the Russian government's crackdown on Yukos and its owners, led by former chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who has been imprisoned.

NAPLES -- Italian police raided scores of homes in the Naples area and arrested 52 suspected mob figures, the largest single offensive in the state's bid to end a bloody organized crime war that has terrified people in this southern Italian city.

Asia

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Authorities arrested and charged the governor of the war-ravaged Aceh province in northern Sumatra in a high-profile corruption case that will test Indonesia's newly formed anti-graft court.

The case against Gov. Abdullah Puteh is expected to complicate efforts to restore civilian rule to Aceh after martial law -- imposed there last year to help crush a separatist insurgency -- was lifted in May.

Africa


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