THE AMERICAS

Colombian Car Bomb Kills 9, Injures 30

BOGOTA, Colombia -- A powerful car bomb ripped through the Medellin offices of the army's anti-kidnapping squad yesterday, killing at least nine people and injuring 30 others.

The bomb, a truck packed with at least 200 pounds of explosives, went off at 3:15 p.m. in a residential neighborhood of Medellin, 155 miles northwest of Bogota, said Medellin police spokesman Haten Dasuki.

Among the dead were a female passerby, two officials from the federal prosecutor's office, and an agent from the state security police, officials said. The blast leveled the offices of the anti-kidnapping squad known by its Spanish initials, GAULA. It was the second explosion in Medellin in less than two weeks.

THE MIDDLE EAST

Iraq Reports Deaths from Western Air Attacks

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq said nine people were killed and 23 injured in Western air raids on the country's northern and southern "no-fly" zones.

The Iraqi News Agency quoted a military spokesman as saying that six people were killed and 21 injured in the north, while three died and two were injured in the south.

The U.S. European Command in Germany said in a statement that U.S. planes patrolling the northern no-fly zone bombed antiaircraft installations after coming under fire. There was no Western report of an attack in the southern no-fly zone.

Iranian Leader Sees U.S. Hand Behind Unrest

TEHRAN -- Iran's supreme leader blamed the "hidden hands" of the United States for this month's pro-democracy unrest, saying Washington had tried to repeat a 1953 coup that restored the pro-Western monarchy.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told worshipers at Friday prayers that the suppression of six days of protests in Tehran showed that Iran would not bow to U.S. attempts to restore its influence.

He also dismissed talk of serious differences in the leadership, widely seen as divided into reformers grouped around President Mohammed Khatemi and conservatives surrounding the institution of supreme clerical rule, represented by Khamenei.

Syria Says It Will Keep Pace With Israeli Arms

DAMASCUS, Syria -- Syria reserves the right to strengthen its army as long as Israel does the same, Defense Minister Mustafa Talas said in published remarks.

Syria was miffed this month when the United States agreed to sell sophisticated F-16 warplanes to Israel after warning Russia that it could be denied U.S. assistance if it concluded new weapons deals with Syria.

"Israel's continued efforts to beef up its army with the most sophisticated weapons casts a foggy climate and uncertainty over the future of the region," Talas said in an interview with the official al-Baath newspaper.

ASIA

India Vows to Abide by U.N. Rules on Iraq

NEW DELHI -- India will lend Iraq money to buy 1,000 Indian buses only if the deal is approved by the U.N. committee monitoring sanctions against Baghdad, a Foreign Ministry statement said.

On Thursday, the two nations announced the signing of the credit agreement, worrying U.N. ambassadors from the United States and Britain, who said they would seek clarification from India about the loan.

Yesterday, however, India said it won't defy U.N.-imposed sanctions by giving Baghdad the $25 million loan. India assured the United Nations that any cooperation with Iraq would be in line with the U.N. sanctions imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990.

Military Accused in Indonesian Massacres

LHOKSEUMAWE, Indonesia -- The military massacred 51 villagers whose bodies were found in the northern province of Aceh, rights activists said.

This week, villagers discovered 31 bodies in two separate grave sites and another 20 bodies in a ravine in Beutong, a village about 90 miles southeast of the regional capital, Lhokseumawe. Witnesses said troops rounded up villagers and marched them into the jungle.

Military officials denied killing the civilians in Aceh, where the army has intensified a crackdown on guerrillas fighting for an independent Muslim state.

EUROPE

Russia Sets Dates for Arms Treaty Talks

MOSCOW -- Russia and the United States will hold discussions on the START III arms reduction treaty in Moscow on Aug. 17-19, the Foreign Ministry said.

The START III treaty would reduce nuclear arsenals to as few as 2,000 warheads each. But the United States says it will not sign START III until Russia ratifies the 1993 START II treaty, which would halve the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals to 3,000 to 3,500 warheads each. The Senate ratified START II in 1996.

Guides to Be Investigated in River Deaths

INTERLAKEN, Switzerland -- Five tour guides were being investigated for possible negligence following a river accident this week that killed at least 19 people in the Swiss Alps, officials said.

The five guides have been placed under formal investigation to determine responsibility for the fatal trip, district attorney Michel-Andre Fels said. Three other guides were among the dead.

Meanwhile, rescuers searched Lake Brienz with underwater cameras for two people who still are missing after a flash flood swept them away as they bodysurfed down the fast-running Saxeten Brook on Tuesday.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Women, by nature, are more moral. They take the straighter road."

Valentin Perez, spokesman for Mexico City's public security secretary, explaining why an all-female squad of traffic officers will assume ticket-writing authority in the Mexican capital