DIGEST

World Digest: Israel's military kills 6 Palestinians in West Bank, Gaza

Sunday, December 27, 2009

THE MIDDLE EAST

Israeli military kills 6 in West Bank, Gaza

Israeli troops blasted their way into the homes of three wanted Palestinians in the West Bank on Saturday, killing each in a hail of bullets and straining an uneasy security arrangement with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The three, affiliated with a violent offshoot of Abbas's Fatah movement, were targeted in the raids in Nablus because they had killed an Israeli settler in a roadside ambush last week and had turned down a chance to surrender, the Israeli military said. Meanwhile, in the Gaza Strip, three young men approaching Israel's southern border were killed by shots from an Israeli helicopter gunship.

The deaths made Saturday one of the deadliest days in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since Israel waged war on Gaza's Islamist Hamas rulers last winter. The Nablus raids are an embarrassment to Abbas, whose security forces have been coordinating some of their moves with their Israeli counterparts.

-- Associated Press

SOUTHEAST ASIA

Region remembers deadly '04 tsunami

Buddhist monks in orange robes chanted on a Thai beach, a man scattered flowers in the now-placid waters and an Indonesian mother mourned her children at a mass grave on Saturday to commemorate the 230,000 killed five years ago when a tsunami ripped across Asia.

An outpouring of aid that followed the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami has helped replace homes, schools and entire coastal communities decimated by the disaster. But on Saturday, survivors spoke of the enduring wounds.

Thousands in Indonesia's Aceh province, which was hardest hit, held prayer services at mosques and beside the mass graves where tens of thousands were buried. The 167,000 people who died in Indonesia accounted for a majority of the total death toll.

-- Associated Press

U.S. missionary enters N. Korea: An American Christian missionary slipped into isolated North Korea on Christmas Day, shouting that he had brought God's love and carrying a letter urging leader Kim Jong Il to step down and free all political prisoners, an activist said. Robert Park, 28, crossed a poorly guarded stretch of the frozen Tumen River that separates North Korea from China, according to a member of the Seoul-based human rights group Pax Koreana.

Bolivia plans to legalize small coca fields: Bolivian President Evo Morales said he plans to make it legal for farmers to grow small parcels of coca plants. Morales said Bolivia's anti-drug laws allow the cultivation of a total of 29,640 acres of coca for traditional uses but make no provision for what individual farmers can grow. Coca leaf is the key ingredient of cocaine.

Attack apparently targeted Hamas official: Three bombs planted under a car exploded south of Beirut on Saturday, wounding two people in an attack that apparently targeted an official from the Palestinian militant group Hamas, the state-run news agency said. The explosion was caused by "three bombs tied to each other" and placed under the car of an official thought to be from Hamas, the agency said.

Philippine volcano quiet but dangerous: Fewer earthquakes have been recorded in the Philippine lava-spilling Mayon volcano, but magma continues to build up inside and any lull in activity could be followed by a bigger eruption, scientists said. An eruption remains possible within days, volcanologist Ed Laguerta warned.

-- From news services


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