Palestinians Retaliate

For Hamas Killings

GAZA CITY -- Palestinians fired mortar rounds and a homemade rocket at Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip on Friday after Israel killed one of the Islamic Resistance Movement's most important leaders and his aide in a missile strike.

Tens of thousands of angry supporters of the movement, also known as Hamas, threatened revenge against Israel during the funeral procession for Adnan Ghoul, 46, a founder and deputy chief of the Hamas military wing who had been wanted by Israel since 1990.

"Hamas is loyal to the blood of its martyrs and will continue on the path of holy war and resistance until we achieve victory by defeating the Zionists," Ismail Hanieh, a top Hamas leader in Gaza, said in a rare public appearance at a Gaza City mosque.

Hamas opposes the Jewish state's existence.

Israel has waged a relentless campaign of assassinations against Hamas leaders, and Israeli analysts said Thursday's strike on Ghoul dealt a major blow to the militant group. Ghoul was an expert in making bombs, crude antitank missiles and the Qassam rockets the group has fired at Israeli communities.

Ghoul's assistant, Imad Abbas, also was killed.

A U.N. Reliefs and Works Agency report released Friday said the offensive, launched Sept. 29, killed 107 Palestinians, wounded 431 others, left nearly 700 homeless and caused more than $3 million in damage.

THE AMERICAS

* OTTAWA -- Attorney General John D. Ashcroft said the United States needs Canada's help to thwart terrorism and to secure the long border between the two countries.

Ashcroft, who met with Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler and Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan, said terrorists could enter the United States from Canada. McLellan assured Ashcroft that Canada will be on guard against any attacks terrorists might launch before the Nov. 2 election.

* CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- Public health and education workers kicked and punched a sport-utility vehicle carrying Mexican President Vicente Fox in Ciudad Juarez on the U.S. border, witnesses said.

Fox, who was not injured, was leaving an official event when at least 100 protesters blocked the path of his motorcade, in which high-ranking officials were traveling, according to journalists who saw the incident.

A car in Fox's convoy hit one of the protesters, and about 20 demonstrators closed in on Fox's vehicle, beating on it and demanding that the president get out of the car.

The protesters were then dispersed by the presidential guard, an elite military unit. Protesters also attacked media vehicles.

* PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- The U.N. peacekeeping force in Haiti should reach its full strength of more than 8,000 soldiers and police officers by the end of November, the U.N. special envoy to Haiti said.

Brazil, head of the peacekeeping force authorized by the United Nations after an armed rebellion in February forced President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power, said last week that reinforcements were needed urgently to cope with surging violence in the impoverished Caribbean country.

The U.N. force has about 3,000 soldiers, a fraction of the 6,700 troops and 1,622 police officers in the original mandate. The United Nations took over from a U.S.-led multinational force that moved into Haiti after Aristide's departure.

* HAVANA -- President Fidel Castro told his countrymen in a letter that he remained fully in command of Cuba, even while undergoing surgery to rebuild one of his knees, which was shattered in a fall.

The Cuban leader refused tranquilizers and general anesthetic during a three-hour surgery to rebuild his broken left kneecap. He told doctors to apply anesthetic only from the waist down, so he would "be able to attend to many important matters" during the procedure.

Castro, 78, tripped on a step and fell to the ground after a speech Wednesday night in central Cuba, breaking the knee in eight places and suffering a hairline fracture in his right arm.

* SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- A court ordered that former president Rafael Calderon be jailed for nine months as investigators probe corruption allegations.

Calderon was to be taken to a cell at the Reforma prison, 12 miles northwest of the capital, Justice Department spokeswoman Emilia Segura said.

Calderon, who served from 1990 to 1994, was detained at a courthouse Thursday after testifying about allegations that money from a $40 million Finnish government loan wound up in his accounts.

ASIA

* BEIJING -- As many as 29 North Koreans entered a South Korean school and pleaded for asylum, the latest in a spate of large-scale defections by people fleeing Pyongyang's dictatorship.

Twenty-three women and six men walked through a back gate and into a weedy back yard of the school, located on the rural northern outskirts of the Chinese capital, South Korea's national news agency Yonhap said.

* TOKYO -- Rescue workers digging through sludge from mudslides and flooded rice paddies in western Japan recovered 14 more bodies, raising to 77 the toll from the nation's deadliest typhoon in more than a decade. Fourteen people remained missing. Typhoon Tokage ripped through western Japan this week with high waves, triggering mudslides, demolishing homes and flooding dozens of communities before it lost power and disappeared over the Pacific Ocean.

EUROPE

* MINSK, Belarus -- Belarus's authoritarian president accused opposition leaders of trying to foster chaos by using terror, as demonstrators protested for a fifth straight night in the capital against the referendum extending his term in office.

Sunday's referendum, which was widely seen as fraudulent, allows Alexander Lukashenko to seek a third term in power.

* WARSAW -- Polish lawmakers narrowly voted against reintroducing the death penalty after a series of killings that outraged the nation, including the case of a woman tortured and killed on a train, then dumped out a window.

-- From News Services