Israeli Troops Pull Out
Of Northern Gaza Strip
BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip -- Israeli troops moved out of the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday after a four-day operation that left eight Palestinians dead, more than 100 wounded and tens of thousands without electricity or running water. Hours later, Palestinians lobbed mortar shells at an Israeli settlement in the strip.
At daybreak, tanks drove away from the towns of Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanoun and the outskirts of the sprawling Jabalya refugee camp, from which Palestinian militants frequently fire rockets at Jewish settlements and Israeli border towns. The tanks left two dozen demolished homes behind them.
It was unclear why the army withdrew. Troops frequently have raided northern Gaza communities to stop the rocket fire, largely to no avail. Even during the raid, some rocket and mortar fire at Israeli towns continued.
After the pullout, in two separate salvos, mortar fire on the Israeli settlement of Netzarim hit a house, damaged several others and slightly injured two soldiers on guard there, the army said.
Earlier this week, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and intelligence chief Omar Suleiman discussed the planned Gaza pullout with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and other officials in the West Bank.
* TEOTIHUACAN, Mexico -- Burning incense and sounding a conch shell horn, residents of an ancient Mexican city protested at the construction site of a Wal-Mart store on the edge of ruins.
The sprawling warehouse-style Bodega Aurrera, a unit of Wal-Mart in Mexico, is due to open in December in Teotihuacan, a major archeological site outside Mexico City.
Opponents say it will ruin a way of life that dates back centuries and have taken legal action to stop it. The construction site lies less than a mile from the gated tourist park housing the main ruins and is visible from atop the Pyramid of the Sun.
* TIJUANA, Mexico -- Authorities closed three rehabilitation centers in northern Mexico this week and deported hundreds of U.S. teenagers sent there for treatment of drug, alcohol or behavior problems, immigration officials said.
Authorities shut the three centers in the Baja California towns of Ensenada and Rosarito on Friday and began deporting 590 youths, many of whom were in Mexico illegally.
A man who answered the phone at one of the centers identified by the immigration officials, the House of Hope Academy in the Pacific coastal town of Ensenada, declined to comment.
The other two centers could not be immediately identified and contacted for comment.
Mexico investigated the centers after complaints of maltreatment, and found the youths had entered Mexico as tourists, not residents of treatment programs, the National Immigration Institute said.
* TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- A drunken Honduran policeman shot five people dead in an argument in the northern city of Trujillo, police said.
The policeman, who was not named, killed the four men and a woman Friday night, provincial police chief Danilo Orellana told Honduran radio.
* ATHENS -- Egypt's Patriarch of Alexandria, a top Greek Orthodox leader in a post that traces its lineage back to one of the first disciples of Christ, was killed in a helicopter crash, Greek authorities said.
A military spokesman said rescuers had found seven bodies and were searching for the other 10 people aboard the military Chinook helicopter, which was carrying Patriarch Petros and some of his staff when it crashed. Earlier reports said nine bodies had been recovered.
Petros was on a pilgrimage to Orthodox monasteries on Mount Athos in northern Greece.
THE MIDDLE EAST
* CAIRO -- An explosion rocked the Saudi city of Jiddah near a branch of the Saudi-American bank, a bank employee said, and an Arab TV station said one attacker was wounded and others were holed up in a nearby house.
An official at the bank, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the explosion in the Bawadi area had "not affected" the bank's operations.
Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV said the explosion happened outside the branch.
Al-Arabiya also said that an attacker was wounded and taken to the hospital, where he was reportedly under close guard.
U.S. Embassy spokesman Robert Keith said that even though there had been "no incident" at the American consulate in Jiddah, it was closed to the public Saturday as a "precautionary measure." He did not refer to the blast near the bank.
* KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysia has detected three new cases of bird flu in a northern state where two outbreaks have been reported since last month, the Veterinary Services Department said.
* KHARTOUM, Sudan -- A member of Sudan's opposition Islamic Popular Congress was tortured to death while detained by security forces, a party official said.
The security services said last week they had arrested 33 members of Hassan Turabi's Popular Congress for plotting sabotage with help from Sudan's eastern neighbor Eritrea.
"Shamseddin Idriss . . . died from brain damage and his hand and also his leg was broken," Turabi's secretary, Awad Babiker, said. "He was tortured."
The Interior Ministry said it had no information on the case of the 25-year-old.
-- From News Services