CNN Producer Freed

By Palestinian Captors

GAZA CITY -- Palestinian gunmen freed an Israeli Arab producer for CNN television unharmed on Tuesday, a day after kidnapping him in the Gaza Strip.

Riad Ali said his captors told him they were members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah political movement.

But the group issued a statement saying it had no connection to the abduction, and condemned it as an act of chaos that hurt the Palestinian cause.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army massed forces backed by helicopters in the northern Gaza Strip and sent tanks into two towns in a raid to quell Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks, security sources said.

The Americas

* BUENOS AIRES -- A high school student opened fire in a classroom in southern Argentina, killing four classmates and wounding five in Argentina's worst school rampage on record, police said.

The 15-year-old suspect began his attack without uttering a word, firing intermittently with a 9mm handgun as students cowered beneath their desks, authorities said.

The rampage, at Islas Malvinas Middle School No. 2 in a remote southern corner of Buenos Aires province, touched off intense nationwide debate about spiraling school violence in Argentina, long considered one of South America's safer countries.

The Middle East

* BEIRUT -- About 3,000 Syrian soldiers have withdrawn from Lebanon in recent days, a senior Lebanese army official said, in a redeployment of troops ahead of a U.N. Security Council review of Syria's military presence in the smaller, neighboring country.

Syrian troops began vacating positions Sept. 21. Military convoys headed from areas near the coast toward the Syrian border in the Bekaa Valley. Witnesses confirmed statements by Lebanese officials that troops had crossed into Syria and had not redeployed inside Lebanon.

* ANKARA, Turkey -- Four small bombs exploded in Turkish cities, slightly injuring a night watchman and damaging buildings.

Three of the bombs targeted branches of the British-based bank HSBC in Istanbul, in the Aegean port city of Izmir and in the southern city of Adana. A fourth bomb exploded near a Turkish-American cultural center in the capital, Ankara. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks.


* NAIROBI -- Kenya said it would push for an international ban on trade in lion trophies and skins, expressing concern that the African lion is under threat.

Officials in neighboring Tanzania disagreed with the idea of a ban, citing potential loss of revenue from trophy hunters.

Kenya will press world governments to give the African lion maximum protection under an international treaty governing trade in endangered or threatened plants and animals, a Kenyan official said.


* DUBLIN -- A Greek airliner carrying more than 300 passengers to New York from Athens made an emergency landing in Ireland after a bomb threat, the second such incident involving the airline in three days.

All the passengers were safely evacuated from the Olympic Airlines plane and the airport was operating normally, a spokeswoman said.

"Nothing suspicious has been found," Tom Kennedy, an inspector, said after a police sweep.


* MANILA -- U.S.-trained troops have launched a major assault to capture or kill leaders of the Abu Sayyaf rebel group wanted by the United States, sparking clashes that killed a Philippine marine and an undetermined number of rebels, officials said.

The assaults began Friday in the mountain jungles of Patikul on southern Jolo island. The operation was targeting Radulan Sahiron, his son Ismin and other Abu Sayyaf commanders who reportedly had planned to meet there, apparently to plot a terror strike, military sources said.

Army Brig. Gen. Agustin Dimaala confirmed the assaults against Sahiron's group, about 580 miles south of Manila. Six marines were injured, two of them while defusing a homemade bomb, officials said.

-- From News Services

Riad Ali, an Israeli Arab producer for CNN, is greeted by family members in Mrar, Israel, a day after he was kidnapped by armed men in Gaza City.