ASIA

Workers Questioned in Bangladesh Blasts

DHAKA, Bangladesh -- Authorities in Bangladesh questioned movie theater employees yesterday after a string of deadly bombings at four crowded cinemas, as the government ruled out involvement of al Qaeda in the attacks.

The blasts Saturday night tore through the movie houses during a 30-minute period, killing 18 people and injuring more than 200 in Mymenshingh, a small town north of the capital, Dhaka.

The bombs were planted in the projection rooms, a police officer said on condition of anonymity. They exploded while the cinemas were packed with early evening moviegoers -- most of them celebrating the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The army defused a fifth bomb Saturday night in a theater in the nearby town of Gaibandh, police said.

Associated Press

AFRICA

Rebels Push Into Western Ivory Coast

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast -- Rebels pressed deeper into Ivory Coast's western cocoa-growing region as the West African country's embattled government urged young men to mobilize en masse to fight in the country's civil war.

The emergence of new rebel factions in the west has aggravated the creeping chaos in a country of 16 million that was already split in two after a failed coup in mid-September.

Hundreds died in four weeks of fighting after the attempted putsch. Hundreds more were killed in battles in the west over the past week between rebels fighting to topple President Laurent Gbagbo and loyalist troops backed by mercenaries.

The discovery of a mass grave behind rebel lines by French troops on Thursday has added to evidence of atrocities.

Foreign media quoted villagers as backing rebel reports that the grave contained the bodies of more than 100 people -- most of them immigrants killed in a raid by Gbagbo's forces.

Reuters

THE MIDDLE EAST

Israeli Forces Kill 4 Palestinians in Gaza

JERUSALEM -- Israeli forces shot and killed four Palestinian militants who tried to infiltrate a Jewish settlement in the southern Gaza Strip, Army Radio reported.

The report said the four were armed, and two others escaped. The military and Palestinian security had no immediate comment.

A spokesman for Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Gaza said the clash took place near Rafiah Yam, a seaside Israeli settlement near the Palestinian town of Rafah, on the border with Egypt.

There are frequent attempts by armed Palestinians to infiltrate Jewish settlements in Gaza. Some Palestinians demand removal of all Israeli settlements from the West Bank and Gaza.

Meanwhile, tanks and bulldozers tore up farmland near the Bureij refugee camp, the scene of a bloody gun battle early Friday, when 10 Palestinians were killed in a clash with Israeli troops who invaded the camp, looking for a terrorist suspect.

Separately, a roadside bomb wounded two Israeli soldiers on the Lebanese border, the first attack against Israeli forces along the frontier in four months.

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