Palestinians Bomb Army Post; Israel Fires Missiles in Gaza

GAZA CITY -- Palestinian militants dug a tunnel under an Israeli army outpost in the heart of the Gaza Strip and exploded a bomb there Sunday, collapsing a concrete building and killing an Israeli soldier and wounding five others, a military spokesman said Monday.

Hamas and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades asserted responsibility for the blast, saying they were avenging Israel's killing of militants in recent weeks, including seven shot dead Saturday in the West Bank.

Early Monday, Israeli helicopters fired 10 missiles at two metal workshops in Gaza City, setting off fires and causing some damage, but no major injuries. Israel said the workshops were being used by Hamas and other militant groups to make weapons.

As Israeli ambulances evacuated the wounded after Sunday's attack, Palestinian militants kept firing at the outpost, drawing heavy Israeli fire from machine guns and tanks, witnesses said. In a nearby Palestinian village, a police officer and a 15-year-old boy were killed by Israeli fire, medics said.

The Middle East

* TEHRAN -- Iran said that it plans to resume building centrifuges for its nuclear program despite international criticism.

But Tehran said it welcomed international supervision of the program and said it would not, for the time being, use the devices to enrich uranium. Enriched uranium can be used in fuel for energy or military purposes.

The White House called Iran's decision further proof that it was trying to build an atomic bomb, and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency -- the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog -- said in Moscow that he hoped Iran would not follow through.

The IAEA chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, in Moscow for a meeting on nuclear power, said at a news conference that he hoped "that this decision is of a temporary nature. I hope it will be reversed."

The Americas

* PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Haiti's former prime minister was detained on suspicion of orchestrating killings during the February rebellion leading to the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, authorities said.

Yvon Neptune was detained at his home in the capital, Police Chief Leon Charles told private Radio Vision 2000.

Neptune was being held in connection with the February killings of Aristide opponents in St. Marc, a port city where violence flared during an armed rebellion that pushed Aristide from power and killed at least 300 people.


* NEW DELHI -- India and Pakistan began talks centered on the disputed Kashmir region by first broaching confidence-building measures and the opening of a bus service across the cease-fire line.

Pakistani Foreign Secretary Riaz Khokhar and his Indian counterpart, Shashank, who uses one name, also discussed a proposed hotline for nuclear-related matters and reopening consulates in Karachi, Pakistan, and Bombay during their four-hour meeting, a spokesman said.

"There were no difficulties. There was a flow of communication," said Masood Khan, spokesman for the Pakistani Foreign Ministry. "The intention is to make this exercise result-oriented."

The two sides were to continue the talks -- the most substantive on Kashmir in six years -- on Monday.


* ALGIERS -- An Algerian Islamic militant group with ties to al Qaeda asserted responsibility for a blast that rocked a power plant in Algeria's capital last week.

The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, or GSPC, said in a statement posted on its Web site that its members used a van loaded with explosives for the attack on June 21 in which 11 people were wounded, one day after the army announced the killing of the rebel group leader. GSPC, the only major rebel group still fighting the secular government, warned of more attacks to come.


* VILNIUS, Lithuania -- Valdas Adamkus claimed victory in presidential elections after partial results showed the man who paved the way for the country's entry into the European Union and NATO defeating his opponent.

"By your decision, you have chosen the path Lithuania will follow," Adamkus, 77, told supporters. He received 52 percent of the vote with more than 85 percent of ballots counted. An election official confirmed Adamkus had won.

-- From News Services